On view

American, b. 1959
Storm King Wavefield, 2007–08
Earth and grass
240,000 sq. ft. (11-acre site)
Gift of the Ralph E. Ogden Foundation, Janet Inskeep Benton, The Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, The Brown Foundation Inc. of Houston, Texas, Amb. and Mrs. W. L. Lyons Brown, Jr., Callahan and Nannini Quarry Products, Charina Endowment Fund, The Donohue Family Foundation, Edmund G. Glass, the Hazen Polsky Fund, Paul and Barbara Jenkel, the Kautz Family Foundation, The Lipman Family Foundation, Martin Z. Margulies, Margaret T. Morris Foundation, Roy R. and Marie S. Neuberger Foundation, Inc., Peckham Family Foundation, Jeannette and David Redden, Gabrielle H. Reem, M.D. and Herbert J. Kayden, M.D., The Richard Salomon Family Foundation, Inc., Sara Lee and Alex H. Schupf, Anne and Constantine Sidamon-Eristoff and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas W. Smith.
© Maya Lin Studio, courtesy Pace Gallery
Photo by Jerry L. Thompson
Viewed from above, the undulating swells of earth forming Storm King Wavefield appear to naturally rise from and roll along the grassy terrain. Set against a backdrop formed by Schunnemunk Mountain to the west and the Hudson Highlands to the south and east, Maya Lin’s earthwork inspires a broad perspective on the landscape from which it emerges and entices deep exploration of the grassy alleys between the cresting peaks. The seven nearly four-hundred-foot-long waves, ranging in height from ten to fifteen feet high, proceed at the same scale as a series of mid-ocean waves. The resulting effect recalls the experience of being at sea, where sight of adjacent waves and land is lost between the swells.

Storm King Wavefield is the largest and last in a series of three of Lin’s wavefields. (The other two are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Miami, Florida.) Lin selected the eleven-acre site as an environmental reclamation project, a sustainable reworking of the former gravel pit that supplied material for the New York State Thruway. When Storm King was founded in 1960, a significant portion of its grounds consisted of large stores of gravel in surrounding fields. The ravaged landscape was in turn landscaped and shaped anew by the very same gravel. This compelling, untold story excited Lin. “I’ve tended to create works on the edges and boundaries of places…. I always knew that I wanted to culminate the series with a field that literally, when you were in it, you became lost inside it.” Working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which sanctioned and supported the reclamation of the site, Lin collaborated with landscape architects to utilize the existing gravel and topsoil at the site. The low-impact grasses and natural drainage system she introduced make Wavefield an organic, living work that continues to evolve.