Vietnam Veterans Memorial architect to speak in April

By Alice Phillips

Maya Lin, a world-renowned public artist and sculptor, will speak to the Upper School as part of the Brown Family Speaker Series April 25.

Lin is the first visual artist to take part in the speaker series, which brings one notable speaker to the Upper School each year.

Lin will also visit art classes and eat lunch with students and faculty in the Feldman-Horn gallery.

“Her work bridges history, art and the environment, so she should have something to interest everyone,” President Thomas C. Hudnut said.

Lin won the contest to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial while an undergraduate at Yale University.

Her design beat out 2,572 other entries in 1981 by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund selection committee.

Art teacher Art Tobias (Will ’12) said that Lin’s design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial has “had an outsized influence on everything of the sort done since.”

Visual Arts Department Head Cheri Gaulke said that Lin’s visit could be inspirational to Harvard-Westlake’s student artists because of the range of Lin’s work and because Lin designed the memorial while a college student.

“She is an amazing artist and one of my personal favorites,” Gaulke said. “I think the Vietnam Memorial is the best designed memorial in Washington D.C.”

Lin’s work since the Vietnam Memorial includes the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama, the Museum for African Art in New York City, the Women’s Table at Yale University and the Timetable at Stanford University.

Former Brown Family Speaker Series guests include violinist Goto Midori, jazz musician Herbie Hancock, photographer Art Wolfe, documentarian Ken Burns and infectious disease doctor Peter Katona last April.

The series was established in 2000 by Linda and Abbott Brown (Russell ’94 and David ’96).