‘Maya Lin: Ghost Forest’ growing in Madison Square Park




Image via Maya Lin Studio, image gallery, Madison Square Park Conservancy

At a time when New Yorkers are cherishing outdoor space ~ from pocket-parks to Central Park, the Madison Square Park Conservancy is preparing to unveil a much anticipated (and delayed) commissioned work by sculptor artist/environmental activist, Maya Lin, with her thoughtful and relevant installations entitled Ghost Forest.

Image via Maya Lin Studio, image gallery, Madison Square Park Conservancy

The towering stand of fifty haunting Atlantic white cedar trees brings to life Lin’s vision as an artist, as well as her commitment to environmental activism.  Here, she presents a harsh symbol of the devastation of climate change. The height of each tree, around forty-feet, stands as a metaphor of the outsized impact of a looming environmental calamity.

Image via Maya Lin Studio, image gallery, Madison Square Park Conservancy

In nature, a ghost forest is the evidence of a dead woodland that was once vibrant. Atlantic white cedar populations on the East Coast are endangered by past forestry practices and threats from climate change, including extreme weather events that yield salt water intrusion, wind events, and fire. The trees in Ghost Forest were all slated to be cleared as part of regeneration efforts in the fragile ecosystem of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.

The magnitude of planetary vulnerability is a significant subject in Lin’s practice through sculpture, installation, and her web-based resource, What Is Missing?. Now two generations removed from the Earthwork artists of the 1960s and 1970s, Lin is taking on rural and urban outdoor space with a focus on geology and the fragility of the earth’s ecosystem. In her artwork, she uses materials that will have minimal effect on the environment, using recycled and sustainable materials ~ and takes great care to avoid damaging the landscapes and ecosystems where she works.

Image via Maya Lin Studio, image gallery Madison Square Park Conservancy

Maya Lin: Ghost Forest will be on view from May 10 through November 14, 2021 in Madison Square Park.

Maya Lin (American, b. 1959) was born in Athens, Ohio and lives and works in New York and Colorado. She earned her BA and MA degrees in architecture from Yale University (1981, 1986).

While Lin has composed a portfolio consisting of a plethora of work, one of the many designs to mention is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, built on the National Mall in Washington D.C. in 1982 when Lin, at the age of 21 was an undergraduate student at Yale, winning the public design competition. She also designed the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama in 1989, and the Wave Field outdoor installation at the University of Michigan in 1995, just to name a few.

Closer to home, Lin created the design of the building for the Museum of Chinese in America in 2009 near Chinatown (NYC).


Also unveiling outdoors in May, sculpture artist, Zaq Landsberg’s Reclining Liberty in Morningside Park, Harlem; Rubem Robierb’s Dream Machine II + Peace Makers on Randall’s Island; Alex Da Corte: As Long as the Sun Lasts, the Met Commission for the Roof Garden; The Green at Lincoln Center, and still on view, KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature at New York Botanical Garden; Awol Erizku: New Visions for Iris; Xu-Zhen, Eternity on Park Avenue; Gillie and Marc’s King Nyani at Hudson Yards; Kenseth Armstead: Boulevard of African Monarchs in Harlem; Sam Moyer: Doors for Doris at Doris C. Freedman Plaza, and many many more still on view.