Bard College Selects Artist and Architect Maya Lin to Design New Performing Arts Studio Building for Fisher Center at Bard
The 25,000-square-foot building will contain five state-of-the-art studios for artist residencies, rehearsals, informal performances, and dance and theater classes, which will be connected by gathering hubs. It will function as a laboratory for the performing arts, where students and professional artists work side by side, informing each other’s practices and sharing their discoveries and works-in-progress with audiences from the Bard community and the public. With a sloping grass-covered roof, the spiral-shaped building will appear to emerge from the meadow surrounding it, encircling a grassy courtyard for outdoor classes, gatherings, or performances.
Maya Lin’s practice, encompassing art, architecture, and landscape, has made her one of the world’s most sought-after artists. Her recent commissions include the Neilson Library at Smith College, the Museum of Chinese in America in Manhattan, and the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. She was recently chosen to design a public art installation for the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. In 1981, Lin, then a 21-year-old architecture student, won the design competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, which remains one of the most visited public memorials in the world. She is also well known to Hudson Valley residents for Wavefield, her spectacular earthwork at Storm King Art Center.
“Bard is honored and proud to have Maya Lin as the architect of its new performing arts studio building,” said Bard College President Leon Botstein. “Her artistry will enhance the beauty of the Hudson Valley and offer a remarkable complement to Frank Gehry’s Fisher Center for the Performing Arts.”
Maya Lin added, “I am delighted to have been selected to design the performing arts studio building at Bard. I have long admired the Fisher Center, and to be able to create a new building in close proximity to it allows me to create a quiet and respectful dialogue with Frank Gehry’s magnificent work. Frank was my teacher at Yale, and it’s particularly meaningful for me to design this new building in relation to his. I will set the studio building into the landscape, tucking it into a hillside so at first only its green roof will be visible. Yet the sloping land will allow double-height studios to open fully to the meadow and woodlands, connecting artists, students, and faculty to the landscape while creating a unique and strong architectural presence. We are designing a high performance, energy efficient, low carbon building that will be sensitive to its site, reflecting my aesthetic and my concern for the environment.”
Fisher Center Board Chair Jeanne Donovan Fisher noted, “Our new studio building will help fulfill the purpose and potential of the Fisher Center after its first glorious two decades. Gehry’s building has two magnificent theaters, but our ambitious program has expanded beyond the current facility, and we urgently need more space for rehearsals, smaller-scale performances, and teaching. Maya Lin’s beautiful design will position the Fisher Center to leap into its third decade as one of the most vital and forward-thinking arts centers in the country.”
Fisher Center Artistic Director Gideon Lester said, “As the Fisher Center approaches its 20th anniversary, we are deepening our mission as a creative home for artists, where we make radical, long-term investments in their practices at all stages of their careers, and help them realize their artistic dreams. It’s fitting that Maya Lin, herself a peerless artist, is developing this home for artists. Intimately in touch with its natural environment, at once grounded and taking flight, her building will unfurl from the meadow like an aperture between earth and air, to create a welcoming and inspiring laboratory for artists, students, faculty, and the public.”
Groundbreaking for the $42 million studio building will take place in 2023, during the celebration of the Fisher Center’s 20th anniversary. Once completed, the building will expand the Fisher Center’s identity beyond the walls of Gehry’s stunning landmark, to become a cultural campus comprising both the Gehry and Lin buildings.
High-resolution images can be downloaded here. Photo credits: Maya Lin Studio with Bialosky New York | Courtesy of Maya Lin Studio © 2022
About Maya Lin
Maya Lin is known for her large-scale environmental artworks, her architectural works, and her memorial designs. Her unique multidisciplinary career has “resisted categories, boundaries and borders” (Michael Brenson). In her book Boundaries, she writes “I see myself existing between boundaries, a place where opposites meet; science and art, art and architecture, East and West. My work originates from a simple desire to make people aware of their surroundings.”
Nature and the environment have long been central concerns for Lin who attended Yale University where she earned a BA in 1981 and a Master of Architecture degree in 1986. Lin was thrust into the spotlight when, as a senior at Yale, she submitted the winning design in a national competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to be built in Washington, DC. She has gone on to a remarkable career in both art and architecture, whilst still being committed to memory works that focus on some of the critical historical issues of our time.
Lin’s art explores how we experience and relate to landscape, setting up a systematic ordering of the land that is tied to history, memory, time, and language. Her interest in landscape has led to works influenced by topographies and geographic phenomena.
Her artwork has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions at museums and galleries worldwide, with works in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art; The Smithsonian Institution; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; and the California Academy of Sciences, among others. She is represented by the Pace Gallery in New York.
Her architectural projects, largely undertaken at the request of non-profit institutions include the newly renovated Neilson Library (2021) at Smith College, the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Cambridge Campus (2015) in Massachusetts, the Museum for Chinese in America (2009) in New York City and the Riggio-Lynch Interfaith Chapel(2004) and Langston Hughes Library (1999) in Clinton, Tennessee. Her designs create a close dialogue between the landscape and built environment, oftentimes juxtapose old and new construction, strive to be harmonious within their site—whether it be an urban or rural setting and she is committed to advocating sustainable design solutions in all her works.
In 2009, Maya Lin started work on her last memorial, What is Missing?, an on-going, multi-sited multimedia installation that raises awareness about habitat loss and biodiversity loss, emphasizing how protecting and restoring habitats can help protect species and significantly reduce climate change emissions.
A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Lin has been profiled in TIME, The New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker, among many other media outlets. The 1996 documentary about her, Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. In 2009, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence. In 2016, President Barack Obama awarded Lin the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, praising her for a celebrated career in both art and architecture, and for creating a sacred place of healing in our nation’s capital. It was recently announced that Lin will create an installation named for Obama’s mother Ann Dunham, for the campus of the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. For more information, visit https://www.mayalinstudio.com/
About the Fisher Center at Bard
The Fisher Center develops, produces, and presents performing arts across disciplines through new productions and context-rich programs.
As a premier professional performing arts center and a hub for research and education, the Fisher Center supports artists, students, and audiences in the development and examination of artistic ideas, offering perspectives from the past and present, as well as visions of the future. The Fisher Center demonstrates Bard’s commitment to the performing arts as a cultural and educational necessity. Its home is the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry and located on the campus of Bard College in New York’s Hudson Valley. The Fisher Center offers outstanding programs to many communities, including the students and faculty of Bard College, and audiences in the Hudson Valley, New York City, across the country, and around the world. Building on a 162-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders.
Over the past 20 years the Fisher Center has developed a justified reputation as one of this country’s leading creative incubators for innovation in the performing arts. Unique in the ecosystem of US performing arts, the Fisher Center is a production house across artistic disciplines and genres, including dance, theater, opera, and music. It initiates, supports, and produces all its programs, rather than presenting pre-existing work. The Fisher Center is also home to Bard’s undergraduate programs in Dance and in Theater and Performance, as well as The Orchestra Now (TON), a graduate training orchestra.
Fisher Center LAB (formerly known as Live Arts Bard) is the Fisher Center’s residency and commissioning program. Since its founding in 2012, it has pioneered a model of long-term support for artists, and increasingly supports not only their creative practice but also their livelihood and professional infrastructure. Projects developed and premiered at the Fisher Center tour the country and the world, bringing new found visibility and acclaim to their artists. Recent examples include Pam Tanowitz’s Four Quartets (called “the greatest creation of dance theater so far this century” by the New York Times) and Song of Songs; and Daniel Fish’s Oklahoma! (2019 Tony award), which began as a student production at Bard in 2007 and had its professional premiere at the 2015 Bard SummerScape Festival. Fisher Center LAB supports multi-year residencies for artists across disciplines, including choreographers Sarah Michelson, Beth Gill, and Raja Feather Kelly; live artists Tania El Khoury and Justin Vivian Bond; and theater makers Charlotte Brathwaite, Ashley Tata, and Suzan-Lori Parks. Fisher Center LAB also runs an acclaimed biennial festival of new performances and installations curated around a theme, exploring some of the most pressing questions of our time. The 2022-23 biennial, Common Ground, is an international festival on the politics of land and food. Past editions have included We’re Watching, which investigated government surveillance in the early months of the Trump administration, and Where No Wall Remains, an international festival on the subject of borders. For more information about the Fisher Center, visit fishercenter.bard.edu.
About Bard College
Founded in 1860, Bard College is a four-year, residential college of the liberal arts and sciences located 90 miles north of New York City. With the addition of the Montgomery Place estate, Bard’s campus consists of nearly 1,000 parklike acres in the Hudson River Valley. It offers bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and bachelor of music degrees, with majors in more than 40 academic programs; graduate degrees in 13 programs; eight early colleges; and numerous dual-degree programs nationally and internationally. Building on its 162-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard College has expanded its mission as a private institution acting in the public interest across the country and around the world to meet broader student needs and increase access to liberal arts education. The undergraduate program at our main campus in upstate New York has a reputation for scholarly excellence, a focus on the arts, and civic engagement. Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders. For more information about Bard College, visit bard.edu.
This event was last updated on 10-24-2022