IN MY LIBRARY
In My Library: Maya Lin
In 1981, Maya Lin was a 21-year-old Yale student when she won a public design competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Her conception — a black stone wall carved with the names of more than 57,000 fallen soldiers — suggests that their loss wounded the earth itself. “The common thread that runs through all of my work is the love and respect I have for the natural world,” the mother of two writes in “Maya Lin: Topologies,” a monograph covering more than 30 years of her art and architecture. Fresh from a family trip that included roaming a forest in Panama and a mountain climb in Italy, Lin will speak at LIVE from the New York Public Library on April 6. Here are four books that have become part of the brick and mortar of her life.
In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki 陰鬱禮讚
I read this when I was studying architecture. It talks about the nuanced beauty hidden in spaces that are not much seen in bright daylight. It also talks about how, in Japanese culture, there’s beauty to be found in everyday, often overlooked objects and how things of humble origin can [yield] aesthetic delight.
Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees by Lawrence Weschler
Robert Irwin is a conceptual artist who often uses our perception of subtle differences in light to create paintings, installations and sculptures that play with our ability to experience subtle edges of visual experiences. Weschler’s book [shows] the way in which art can bring you to a point of pure empathetic connection.
A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit
A beautiful wander in which Solnit describes the many ways in which one can lose oneself — and in so doing begin to find something you may not know about the world and yourself. The nature of experience should require the art of letting go to find part of yourself you do not know.
The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
This is about the current mass species extinction this planet is experiencing. Since I’m so focused on this subject as part of my last memorial, What Is Missing?, I found Kolbert’s book a brilliant and moving account both of the nature of extinction and firsthand, specific accounts by scientists about this worldwide biodiversity crisis.