Department of Cultural Affairs NYCulture City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs NYCulture City of New York

Percent for Art

   Mel Chin

Landmind, Metal and glass, 1995



Completion Date:



Metal and glass




Long Island City High School


14-30 Broadway, Queens


Gruzen Samton Steinglass

Sponsor Agency:

Board of Education

Design Agency:

School Construction Authority

For his project entitled Landmind at Long Island City High School, Mel Chin etched the altitudes of famous mountain ranges, such as the Andes and the Himalayas, into the risers of the stairs in the lobby's main stairway. These etchings are complemented by topographical illustrations of the altitudes set atop the railing's posts. The glass below the railing is etched with cultural symbols from the regions in which the ranges are located. A large chart at the foot of the stairs further explains the altitudes and provides a world map highlighting their locations. According to the artist, the artwork incorporates various graphic icons that link ideas about geographic, scientific, and cultural invention.

About the Artist...
Mel Chin was born in Houston Texas, received his B.A. from Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee, and lives in New York City. From 1994 to 1997, he held the Lamar Dodd Professorial Chair of Art at the University of Georgia. He is an artist known for the broad range of approaches in his art, including works that require multi-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork and works that conjoin cross-cultural aesthetics with complex ideas. One of his most well-known works is Revival Field, an ongoing collaborative project which tests and develops the capacity of hyper-accumulator plants to remove toxic metals from contaminated soil. He is the recipient of many awards including Artist's Projects/New Forms, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Penny McCall Foundation Award, a Pollock/Krasner Foundation Fellowship, and the Cal Arts Alpert Award in the Visual Arts. He exhibits extensively in the United States and Europe and has had several one-person exhibitions, including Directions: Mel Chin at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN and Degrees of Paradise at Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York.

Artist Quote...
These works can stand as aesthetic forms, yielding 'unauthorized' reading; however they are also configured to encourage investigations that will reveal more specific associative meanings...Landmind seeks to promote a sense of discovery and continuity between places where we live and the ideas that we share. -- Chin, 1993