Stephanie Stone (415) 379-5121

Andrew Ng (415) 379-5123

Maya Lin Selected to Create Public Art for
the New California Academy of Sciences

New installation, inspired by nature, will be the first work by Maya Lin in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (November 16, 2005) — The California Academy of Sciences, Mayor Gavin Newsom, and the San Francisco Arts Commission are pleased to announce that Maya Lin has been selected to create a public art installation for the new Academy of Sciences building in Golden Gate Park, which will open to the public in 2008. The new work, which will take its cues from the Academy’s mission to explore, explain, and protect the natural world, will be installed within or around the facility in a publicly-accessible space. Lin was selected from a group of international artists by a selection committee that included Academy of Sciences trustee Bill Wilson, Olaf deNooyer from the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Jeannene Przyblyski from the San Francisco Arts Commission, Ron Miguel from the Academy of Sciences Citizen’s Advisory Group, Edgar Lopez from the Department of Public Works, Daniell Cornell from the De Young Museum, Karen Tsujimoto from the Oakland Museum, and art advisor Mary Zlot .

The selection committee’s goal was to commission a project that would inspire contemplation about the natural world, facilitate the discovery and celebration of natural wonders, and acknowledge the Academy’s setting within Golden Gate Park. Given these parameters, Lin was a natural choice for the project. Much of her past work has been inspired by the natural sciences and informed by scientific analysis, and she has demonstrated a deep interest in landscape art and the human relationship with nature. “I have always been drawn to the use of science in my work,” says Lin. “This project at the Academy of Sciences will allow me the chance to create an installation that in being site specific will also mesh completely with my interest in utilizing scientific data to inform my work. I couldn’t be more excited about the prospect.”

Lin, who is trained in both art and architecture, will consider not only the Academy’s mission but also the building’s design as she conceives her new work. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Maya Lin as she creates a public art installation for the new Academy,” says Dr. Patrick Kociolek, Executive Director of the California Academy of Sciences. “By bringing art and science together in the new Academy project, we hope to make a powerful statement about the importance of scientific research and biodiversity conservation that will speak to visitors of all ages. Lin’s work, which echoes the environmentally-conscious design of the new Academy building, will help us reach a wider audience as we strive to inspire visitors to help protect our astonishing planet.”

The newly commissioned public art installation for the Academy of Sciences will be the first work by Maya Lin in the City of San Francisco. “ As an advocate for sustainable architecture, I have proudly supported the new Academy project since its inception, ” says Mayor Gavin Newsom. “ With the addition of an art installation by Maya Lin, an artist who is renowned for her unique and brilliant aesthetic, the City of San Francisco now has another great reason to be proud of the new California Academy of Sciences, which is sure to become a beloved City landmark. ”

The new Academy public art installment is the most recent project to be overseen by the San Francisco Arts Commission Public Art Program, which endeavors to invigorate the city’s built environment by commissioning works that transform and enliven urban spaces. “ The Arts Commission is pleased to commission an artist of Maya Lin's stature, ” says Arts Commissioner Jeannene Przyblyski. “ Her spare and thoughtful art will be a beautiful complement to Renzo Piano's thought-provoking building .”

Designs for the new Academy public art installation by Maya Lin will be unveiled in 2006.

About the California Academy of Sciences
Since 1853, the California Academy of Sciences has been dedicated to exploring, explaining, and protecting the natural world. The Academy – which celebrated its 150 th anniversary in 2003 – is the oldest scientific institution in the West. It is the fourth largest natural history museum in the country and the only one in the nation to include both an aquarium and planetarium. The museum has a research staff of 30 Ph.D.-level scientists – supported by more than 100 Research and Field Associates and over 300 Fellows – who launch dozens of expeditions each year to explore the natural world. It has eight scientific research departments in the fields of anthropology, aquatic biology, botany, entomology, herpetology, ichthyology, invertebrate zoology and geology, and ornithology and mammalogy. The Academy’s research collections, which are among the world’s largest, include more than 18 million specimens – essential tools for comparative studies on the history and future of the natural world.

About the San Francisco Arts Commission Public Art Program
The public art program strives to invigorate San Francisco’s built environment by commissioning contemporary artists to create work that transforms and enlivens civic buildings and urban spaces. Established by City ordinance in 1969, San Francisco’s Public Art Program was one of the first in the country. The ordinance provides for 2% of the construction cost of civic buildings, transportation improvement projects, new parks, and other above-ground structures such as bridges, to be allocated for public art. It also provides an allowance for artwork conservation funds and allows for the pooling of art enrichment funds for interdepartmental projects. As part of the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Public Art Program provides curatorial expertise and project management for the implementation of the City ordinance, and is overseen by the Visual Arts Committee (VAC) of the Commission.

About Maya Lin
Born in 1959 in Athens, Ohio, Maya Lin catapulted into the public eye when, as a senior at Yale University, she submitted the winning design in a national competition for a Vietnam Veterans Memorial to be built in Washington, D.C. She was trained as both an artist and an architect, and her sculptures, parks, monuments, and architectural projects have all been shaped by her observations of and reactions to landscapes. She finds inspiration for her work in natural topographies and geologic phenomena, including rock formations, ice floes, water patterns, solar eclipses, and satellite views of the Earth. Lin is an advocate for environmental protection, and she often incorporates recycled, living, or natural materials into her work. She serves on the board of the Natural Resources Defense Council and has served on the Energy Foundation Board as well as the Presidio Advisory Council. She lives in New York and Colorado.