Maya Lin


American Artist, Sculptor and Architect of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, Awarded National Medal of Arts

Author Quotes

When I was building the Vietnam Memorial, I never once asked the veterans what it was like in the war, because from my point of view, you don't pry into other people's business.

When I was very little, we would get letters from China, in Chinese, and they' be censored. We were a very insular little family.

You couldn't put me in a social group setting. I'm probably a terrible anarchist deep down.

You have to let the viewers come away with their own conclusions. If you dictate what they should think, you've lost it.

You should be having more fun in high school, exploring things because you want to explore them and learning because you love learning-not worrying about competition.

It's funny, as you live through something you're not aware of it.

We were unusually brought up; there was no gender differentiation. I was never thought of as any less than my brother.

It's only in hindsight that you realize what indeed your childhood was really like.

Math, it's a puzzle to me. I love figuring out puzzles.

My dad was dean of fine arts at the university. I was casting bronzes in the school foundry. I was using the university as a playground.

My goal is to strip things down so that you need just the right amount of words or shape to convey what you need to convey. I like editing. I like it very tight.

My grandfather, on my father's side, helped to draft one of the first constitutions of China. He was a fairly well-known scholar.

My parents are both college professors, and it made me want to question authority, standards and traditions.

OK, it was black, it was below grade, I was female, Asian American, young, too young to have served. Yet I think none of the opposition in that sense hurt me.

Our parents decided not to teach us Chinese. It was an era when they felt we would be better off if we didn't have that complication.

Some of your teachers are actually closer in age to you than you think.

Sometimes you have to stop thinking. Sometimes you shut down completely. I think that's true in any creative field.

The definition of a modern approach to war is the acknowledgement of individual lives lost.

The only thing that mattered was what you were to do in life, and it wasn't about money. It was about teaching, or learning.

The process I go through in the art and the architecture, I actually want it to be almost childlike. Sometimes I think it's magical.

It terrified me to have an idea that was solely mine to be no longer a part of my mind, but totally public.

The role of art in society differs for every artist.

It was a requirement by the veterans to list the 57,000 names. We're reaching a time that we'll acknowledge the individual in a war on a national level.

Warmth isn't what minimalists are thought to have.

I left science, then I went into art, but I approach things very analytically. I choose to pursue both art and architecture as completely separate fields rather than merging them.

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American Artist, Sculptor and Architect of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, Awarded National Medal of Arts