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Artist, Designer and Environmentalist Maya Lin to Speak at 2018 School of Visual Arts Commencement Exercises

SVA is honored to announce that artist, designer and environmentalist Maya Lin will be the keynote speaker at the College’s 43rd annual commencement exercises, to be held at 1:00pm on Monday, May 7, 2018, at the landmark Radio City Music Hall, located at 1260 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan. SVA President David Rhodes will confer BFA, MA, MAT, MFA and MPS degrees on some 1,180 undergraduate and graduate degree candidates enrolled in the College’s 32 academic programs. The event is ticketed and open to degree candidates and invited guests only; the exercises will stream live at sva.edu/commencement.

Lin’s celebrated and seminal body of work has transformed our collective consciousness around monuments, and often explored critical aspects of our country’s history, politics and culture. Her interpretations of the physical and psychological elements of the natural world as they relate to time, memory and language, fused with her prowess in sculpture, design and architecture, have resonated with millions of viewers. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Lin’s first design, which she conceptualized as a Yale undergraduate at the remarkable age of 21, is widely considered to be one of the most powerful monuments of our time. Her other notable works include her land art “wave fields” for the Storm King Art Center in Cornwall, New York (2009), the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. federal courthouse in Miami, Florida (2005), and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (1995); her design for the Museum of Chinese in America, in Manhattan (2009); and her Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama (1989).

Among Lin’s several current projects is What Is Missing?, a multimedia endeavor that the artist has called her last memorial. Decades in the making, What Is Missing? seeks to inspire action to combat the ongoing species extinction crisis brought on by climate change and incorporates video, photography, audio recordings, sculptures, data visualizations and a website, whatismissing.net.

Lin’s work is in the permanent collections of a number of museums and institutions, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art; and the Smithsonian Institution. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and her many honors include a 2009 National Medal of Arts and a 2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom—America’s highest civilian honor.

Maya Lin will join a distinguished group of leaders in the arts, humanities and public service who have spoken at SVA’s commencement exercises, including feminist icon Gloria Steinem, U.S. congressman and civil rights legend John Lewis, cultural critic Greil Marcus, artists Laurie Anderson and Carrie Mae Weems, playwrights Edward Albee and Tony Kushner, and historian Robert A. Caro.

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