I went out with the family to see Maya Lin’s Wavefield up at Storm King Art Center over the weekend. I hadn’t read much about it, on purpose, looking forward to taking my own unfiltered impressions. It was a beautiful day to visit: one of those crisp fall afternoons, the foliage in hues from green to red, the light raking in dramatically. Even under these perfect conditions, I will admit I was a bit underwhelmed, though it is not unimpressive. The piece seems designed entirely to be viewed from an elevated perspective adjacent to the dune-like landforms. From there it is undeniably graphic. When we were there, a steady stream of visitors made their way up to the position, cameras ready.
What I found disappointing was the piece when viewed from anywhere else, in particular within the undulating forms themselves. These are not manicured, but left rather wild and scrabbly. This is fine, except that docents yell at anyone who attempts to mount the crests of the waveforms, even though they hardly seem pristine or fragile. I was hoping that the piece would offer a series of shifting experiences and views, but instead one simply walks through a trench between the waves and then up to the privileged perspective. It all seems like kind of a lost opportunity. however impressive it might be. Still, a trip to Storm King is always worthwhile.
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