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Maya Lin to deliver Tanner Lecture on Human Values

Artist and designer Maya Lin speaks at University of Utah
Known for memorials such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Lin will speak on Nov. 20
Tickets available Oct. 21


Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019 – The Obert C. and Grace A. Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah presents the 2019 Tanner Lecture on Human Values given by artist and designer, Maya Lin, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 7 p.m. at Kingsbury Hall. Lin interprets the natural world through history, politics and culture, creating a body of work that balances art and architecture. Tickets are required to the free lecture and will be available on Monday, Oct. 21 at 10 a.m. at or by calling 801-581-7100. 

“I am excited to welcome Maya Lin to give the first Tanner Human Values Lecture during my tenure as director of the Tanner Humanities Center,” said Erika George, Samuel D. Thurman Professor of Law. “Her minimalist memorials invite us to reflect on our place in the world, our relationships with one another as well as humanity’s relationship to the natural world.”

 Lin’s installations, studio artworks, architecture and memorials, such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, become a part of the land, merging physical and psychological environments, presenting a new way of seeing the world. In 2009 she was awarded the National Medal of Arts — the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence. Lin was awarded in 2016 with the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to those who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the United States," for her widely acclaimed memorials.

In her presentation, “Art and Social Responsibility, a Personal Response,” Lin will reflect upon her career as an artist and designer and discuss how her creative work connects intricately to history, politics, culture, and environment. A daughter of immigrants, Lin has forged a rare path that includes seminal art, architectural works as well as groundbreaking memorials.

 “While Lin is perhaps most well-known for designing the Vietnam memorial, which I see as inviting us to consider the cost of conflict, I believe it is important for the public to also know about the project she is currently working on – What Is Missing? – a digital memorial for the planet, which invites us to consider biodiversity and the consequences of habitat loss,” said George.

 Lin will also participate in a conversation with U scholars from across a range of disciplines at the UMFA Dumke Auditorium, Nov. 21 at 9 a.m. that is open to the public. She will join David Roh, associate professor of English and director Digital Matters Lab, Paisley Rekdal, professor of English and Utah Poet Laureate and Elpitha Tsoutsounakis, assistant professor of multi-disciplinary design to explore the ways their respective fields of research relate to the human experience and Lin’s body of work.    

A recording of the lecture will be made available to the public on the Tanner Humanities Center’s website.

 About Tanner Lecture on Human Values

The Tanner Lectures on Human Values initiates educational and scientific discussions relating to human values. Distinct Tanner Lectures are delivered annually at Oxford University, Cambridge University, Harvard University, Princeton University, Stanford University, University of California - Berkeley, University of Michigan, University of Utah, Yale University and other educational facilities around the world. Since 2006, the U has hosted Isabel Allende, Spike Lee, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Margaret Atwood, Siddhartha Mukherjee and Barry Scheck, among others.

 About Tanner Humanities Center

Since 1988, the Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah has promoted humanities inquiry and exchange by supporting innovative scholarly projects and creating opportunities for interaction among scholars, students and lifelong learners. They offer twenty programs in three major areas, research support, public lectures and programs, and faculty outreach. The activities reflect a vision of the humanities as not only relevant, stimulating and cutting-edge, but also essential for developing critical thinking, tolerance and respect on campus and in the community. 


 --Jana Cunningham, University of Utah College of Humanities,, 801-213-0866

Last Updated: 6/30/21