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Sova assignment- Maya Lin and Richard Serra September 23, 2010

Filed under: Writings — wuhuyumo @ 2:31 pm

1. What makes Maya Lim’s work successful in public?

Maya Lin’s work, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is successful as it is simple yet elegant. She used the design criteria such as the design must be apolitical, reconciliatory, harmonious with the site and contains sixty thousand names of those missing or killed in war to her advantage. She especially used the last criteria evocatively, turning the sixty thousand names literally to become the memorial. Her design is a reflective black stone wall with the names inscribed on them. When a visitor looks upon the wall, his or her reflection can be seen simultaneously with the engraved names, which is meant to symbolically bring the past and present together. People would be able to place mementos along the ground underneath the names of their deceased friends or family. The tranquility and serenity of the memorial allows for reflection and meditation, making its case to the viewer through subtlety. Also, it is successful as it is elegant and serves its pupose well as a memorial. The reflection of the stone also helps the viewer to reflect and to commemorate the Vietnam veterans.  The serenity of the memorial creates the ideal feel and mood for the viewer to pay their respect for these Vietnam veterans.

2. What does Richard Serra mean by “site specific” for Tilted Arc?

Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc blocks the way of the pedestrains, forcing them to walk around it in order to cross the busy plaza. This is to goad them to be aware of their surroundings. It is site specific as it helps the viewer become aware of himself and of his movement through the plaza. As he moves, the sculpture changes, and the viewer would see a diffferent image of the sculpture with every step he takes. Contraction and expansion of the sculpture result from the viewer’s movement. Therefore, every step results in not just a change of perception of the sculpture but also of the entire environment.  The sculpture is made to scale along with the plaza, so as to block the way of the pedestrains in a way to force them to realise how their surroundings change with every step they take. This is the main purpose for this sculpture and thus the Tilted Arc is made site specific for this reason.The sculpture is large scale and dramatically changed the aesthetic of the plaza and the expereience of the people who needs to cross this plaza. Therefore, the Tilted Arc is site specific to the plaza so as to challenge new perspectives from the pedestrains.


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