Imaginary Lines

The artist and architect Maya Lin invited me to her current show at the Pace Gallery because, she said, latitude and longitude were "playing a major part." Of course I went -- not to the opening on April 25, but the following Tuesday afternoon, when it was possible to marvel quietly at the way Ms. Lin's imagination gave substance to the globe's lines of position. She had sculpted several of them in marble, the stuff of Earth's own heft.  These works lay low on the wooden floor of the gallery, where I walked around them and stepped over them and enjoyed being disoriented by lines realized in three dimensions. Their smooth sides give rise to hummocky top surfaces suggesting everything from mountain ranges to mid-ocean ridges or even midtown skyscrapers.

The marble ring called "Latitude New York City" looked to be an excised, miniaturized parallel of the world, joining all the places that share the "41 North" address of this metropolis, from Pennsylvania cross-country to California and over the Pacific to Japan, North Korea, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.

A pair of long, narrow pieces, "74 Degrees West Longitude" and "106 Degrees East Longitude," were displayed end to end. The small gap between them kept east and west from meeting, though these particular meridians in fact intersect in Ms. Lin herself, a New Yorker with roots in China.

On the gallery walls hung several bodies of water she had rendered in flows of silver. Other waterways, including the Hudson River and the flood surge of Hurricane Sandy, took shape in assemblies of several thousand steel pins painstakingly stuck into the plaster. The seeming permanence of these installations naturally raised the question of how one might purchase such a work of art for display elsewhere. The answer: The artist or her assistants could map the positions of the pins onto another site's wall, drill all the tiny holes to hold them, and then insert them one by one.

The "Here and There" of the show's title reflects the fact that only part of the exhibition resides in New York, where it can be seen through June 22, with the rest on view at Pace in London. I wish I were going to see that part as well.