Artist Projects

Maya Lin

Ghost Forest

Madison Square Park, New York
Jun 8 – Dec 13, 2020

For Madison Square Park Conservancy’s 40th public art commission, Maya Lin will realize a new, site-responsive installation that brings into focus the ravages of climate change on woodlands around the world. On view from June 8, 2020 through December 13, 2020, Ghost Forest will take the form of a towering grove of spectral cedar trees, all sourced from the region and presented in sharp contrast to the Park’s lush tree line. The work derives its name from the natural phenomenon of ghost forests, a term used to describe vast tracts of forestland that have died off due to climate change, sea-level rise and saltwater infiltration.

To create Ghost Forest, Lin worked together with the Conservancy to source dead trees from the Pine Barrens in New Jersey, a vulnerable site that has suffered severe deprivation. The Atlantic Cedars that will be installed in the Park were all afflicted by extreme salinization during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, victims of rising seas and salt-water inundation, and slated to be cleared to allow for the regeneration of surrounding trees. The installation brings the dire reality of this naturally occurring phenomenon to audiences in a dense urban environment and encourages a consideration of nature-based practices that can protect and restore the ecosystem.

Ghost Forest presents two striking alternatives within the context of Madison Square Park— the ashen trees standing in contrast to the vibrancy of the Park,” said Brooke Kamin Rapaport, Deputy Director and Martin Friedman Chief Curator of Madison Square Park Conservancy. “The Conservancy’s public art commissions are transient by nature. Ghost Forest underscores the concept of transience and fragility, and stands as a grave reminder of the consequences of inaction to the climate crisis. Within a minimal visual language of austerity and starkness, Lin brings her role as an environmental activist and her vision as an artist to this work.”

To read more, please visit Artnet News, The New York Times, or Madison Square Park Conservancy's website.

Artist Projects — Maya Lin to Create New Installation in Madison Square Park, Nov 25, 2019