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Maya Lin's Final Public Memorial at The Cal Academy

Twenty-eight years ago, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial won artist Maya Lin instant fame at the tender age of 21 for her brilliantly unconventional approach to uniting a divided nation with a simple slab of black granite. This Thursday, the renowned sculptor and landscape architect will debut her last public memorial at the California Academy of Sciences right here in San Francisco. The permanent site-specific sound and media installation entitled “What Is Missing?” is the first of a multi-sited, multimedia art project committed to raising awareness about the global crisis surrounding biodiversity and habitat loss.

Lin’s lifelong passion for environmental conservation makes her the perfect candidate for this partnership with the Cal Academy, whose mission is to explore, explain and protect the natural world. Assigned by the SF Arts Commission, the dedication of the installation nicely coincides with the Academy’s one-year anniversary and also marks the museum as the only institution in the world to house two permanent works by Lin (the other being “Where the Land Meets the Sea,” a space drawing based upon the topology of the Bay Area).

Always creating groundbreaking, awe-inspiring work that pushes the envelope and raises challenging questions, Lin’s unveiling is a unique opportunity you don’t want to miss. Hear what the artist has to say about the piece at this week’s Cal Academy Nightlife party, where she’ll appear in person to give a talk and answer questions.

Maya Lin at California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr., Golden Gate Park, Thursday, 9/17 at 7 p.m.