Maya Lin, the artist most famous for creating the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, a piece of public work that cut deep in the American psyche, unveiled another memorial last week in San Francisco. What is missing? is a homage to extinct species.
In her artistsâ€™ statement she says:
What is missing? is a wake up call and a call to action, showing what is being done throughout the field of conservation and also what individuals can do in their everyday lives to make a difference in habitat and species protection.
What is missing? will make the critical link between global warming concerns and habitat protection: if 20% of global warming emissions are caused by deforestation then What is missing? will integrally connect these issues, asking the question:
Can we save two birds with one tree?
Iâ€™m sorry. It may be that last coy bon mot that pushed me over the line butâ€¦ if any piece of work epitomises something Michaela Crimmin was talking about recently when she wrote,â€œArt is not going to combat climate change by didacticism of preachingâ€, itâ€™s Linâ€™s giant speaking tube.
Perhaps the piece doesnâ€™t have the right impact when viewed via YouTube, but to my eyes, Linâ€™s work does the opposite of creating connections between environment and global warming, as she claims. Instead, Linâ€™s megaphone appears to reduce the natural world to something exotic and far-away at the pointy end of a tube.
Iâ€™m right, arenâ€™t I?
EDIT. Iâ€™ve just noticed in a review of the work in the SF Chronicle that children can enter the tube â€“ if they take their shoes off. That makes it even worse, somehow.
Go to RSA Arts & Ecology