Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Maya Lin

I'm not terribly well read in the field of sculpture, but her work strikes me as quite path-breaking, as something appealing our most human feelings, and not only because touch is encouraged. When I first visited the Vietnam War Wall I cried, and I know no-one buried there. It was that remarkable combination of monumentalism and privacy, that ability to search for one name, to copy it, to touch it, to spend time with the memory of that person, and at the same time to realize the enormity of the losses, the gigantic wall in front of you standing as a grim reminder.

I think she is a genius.

That's the prelude. Then the meat of the post: Is she being treated as a genius? Is she getting the accolades and the following geniuses usually get? Has she been declared a national treasure? Has she been invited to be a member on all the important boards, an expert in all important competitions?

Perhaps. But I suspect that she would be getting much more attention if her name wasn't Maya but Matthew Lin.

Now try to talk me out of that opinion, please.