Storm King Wavefield
Average: 5 (1 vote)

More about Storm King Wavefield

jtucker's picture


Maya Lin has a real knack for taking the sad, used and forgotten elements of our world and making them beautiful again.

Lin gave birth to Storm King Wavefield out of the remnants of a depleted gravel mine that was used to build the New York Thruway. Making this piece was no easy task. Spanning eleven acres, these seven rows of waves were sculpted by Lin using only natural materials found in the art center and some topsoil for grass to grow.

Lin is a bit of an environmentalist if you hadn’t guessed. It was her goal to create the structures with the lowest environmental impact possible. To do so, she calculated the carbon footprint she’d make by constructing the waves and traveling to and from site, then she planted the correct amount of indigenous trees to make up for her impact on the earth. So how many trees does it take to offset an eleven acre long art installation? Just a measly 260.

For this site-specific work, Lin was inspired by ocean waves, but the grassy undulations also share a resemblance to the mountains and hills surrounding them. If I was there, I would make sure to bring a cardboard box and revisit the joys of childhood by riding down the hills, but that’s just me.

Sledding or not, this piece is definitely worth the visit. New York can be quite the trek from other parts of the country, so if the Storm King Art Center is a little out of your way, Lin’s created two other versions of this earthwork piece. She has also sculpted wavefields at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and at the Federal Courthouse of Miami. The Storm King Wavefield is by far the most impressive though, spanning over 200,000 square feet more than the others and reaching heights of 15 feet tall. That’s a wave you wanna catch.