What is Maya Lin’s Wave Field?
Maya Lin (b. 1959 in Ohio) is unquestionably one of the most talented architectural and land artists of our era. While she is well-known for her work on the Vietnam War Memorial, the Wave Field is hands down her best work yet. A three-part land art series, Wave Field is a collection of undulating and rolling ocean wave-like landscapes she sculptured from land using simple garden tools. The first in this series, installed in 1995, is nestled in a lush garden on the Southeast side of the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Building at the University of Michigan campus.
Wavefield, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1995
Maya Lin’s first Wave Field was created in 1995 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. For this 10,000-square-foot work, Lin used scientific data to recreate ocean waves in their actual size, some of them up to six feet high.
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Flutter, Miami, Florida, 2005
Sculptured by the landscape artist, these waves were specially designed to rise and dip on the manicured lawn, casting shadows that change with the sun’s movement. This way, the look and feel of the installation and the entire site evolve with seasons and throughout the day. The Wave Field itself covers 10,000 sq. ft of a tranquil field, serene and peaceful as intended by Maya Lin.
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Storm King Wavefield, Storm King Art Center, 2007-2008
The latest installation in the Wavefield series is located at Storm King Art Garden in New York. Unlike Courtyard Wave Field in Ann Arbour, Michigan, Storm King Wavefield covers a whopping 11 acres of pure rolling grass and landscapes. It was sculpted by Maya Lin from a gravel pit in the late 2000s. Marvelous in all its glory, Storm King Wavefield is truly a work of passion and love for land art. That’s why it comes as no big surprise that thousands of visitors and landscape art lovers come to Storm King Art Center in NY to marvel at it.
When it comes to Storm King Wavefield, Maya Lin went all out to make sure that the art is down to a human scale. The site itself covers an 11-acre field, with earthwork spread across 4 acres on the southwest edge of the Art Center. Again, this Wave Field has been installed on a former gravel pit, making this art part of a reclamation project. Maya made optimal use of topsoil and took advantage of natural drainage to minimize waste and carbon footprint. And with the rest of the site planted with more than 260 indigenous trees, Storm King Wavefield is a sight to behold.
The wavefield itself consists of 7 rows of undulating waves of grass and earth. The trough-to-trough width is about 40ft, while the height of grassy waves ranges from 10 to 15 feet.
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