Maya Lin Vietnam Veterans Memorial

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Maya Lin’s fascination with geological phenomena and topography has had an influential impact as her environmental artworks show her passion and devotion towards nature's presence. Her artworks evoke environmental issues though a representation of the physical processes that shapes the earth. After visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial designed by Maya Lin in Washington, DC I have become fascinated with her earth works. I remember at first glance of the memorial, I was captivated by the way it was incorporated into the land. Although, Lin’s unique design of the memorial in 1981 had caused controversial debate due to its abstract nature, it has indefinitely become a success to the public eye, making it one of the most visited memorials in…show more content…
Lin specifically chose the shape of the memorial as it cartographically lies amid two important national sights, this allows her to unite the memorial to the nations past, bringing together the country's past and the present. Moreover, the selection of the media is significant, due to its smooth surface being so reflective it almost acts like a mirror for visitors who experience the piece. Maya Lin's specific way of organizing the names on the panels of the walls was arranged by the chronological sequence of death of all the soldiers. She used a simple typeface and spacing with the names beginning from the right centre apex going down towards the right edge and picking up from the lower left side moving towards and finishing at the centre again. Therefore, the first American soldier killed in Vietnam in 1959 is on a panel next to the name of the last American killed in 1975. From arranging the names in chronological order of death, it provides a narrative framework as each name tells the story of the war. It is important to note that Lin precisely wanted to use gabbro in order for visitors see the tremendous number of names as a reality and detrimental effects of the war and thus be the fundamental aspect of the memorial. Moreover, the reflectivity of the black granite allows viewers to see their own reflection in the names and participate in the memorial. The context and design of the Vietnamese War Memorial was undoubted the first of its kind, since it unmistakably belongs to the period of modernism is Western Art. Thus before the construction of the memorial, many veterans and critics of modernism argued that the public would find the abstract modernist work too difficult to interpret and the memorial should have been designed through conventional aesthetics of previous war memorials. However as Professor Marita Sturken from New York

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