Maya Lin Brings Life to Trees Killed By Climate Change In NYC’S ‘Ghost Forest’ Installation

Art imitates life in Maya Lin’s newest installation showing the impact of climate change on display in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park.

Commissioned by the Madison Square Park Conservancy, American artist and activist Maya Lin is bringing a gripping climate message to the city that never sleeps.

“Ghost Forest,” which is a forest built of trees that fell victim to climate change, features 49 Atlantic cedar trees killed by rising sea levels. Over the course of the installment period, which runs from May 10 to November 14, 2021, the trees will lose their color and turn a “ghostly” grey aimed at contrasting with the Midtown Manhattan park’s naturally green landscape.

Maya Lin Brings Life to Trees Killed By Climate Change In NYC'S 'Ghost Forest' Installation

Climate Change

The trees come from the nearby New Jersey Pine Barrens.

“I wanted to bring a ghost forest to the heart of Manhattan, and find trees that were as close to Manhattan as I could possibly source,” Lin said in a statement.

“They had died off due to extreme weather events related to climate change: wind events, fire, sea-level rise, saltwater infiltration and bad forestry practices,” Lin said.

The installation comes in tandem with a series of public events held by the Conservancy addressing nature-based solutions to the climate crises. The art is also accompanied by a soundscape that orients listeners to the once-common animals on Manhattan island including grey foxes and American black bears.

Maya Lin Brings Life to Trees Killed By Climate Change In NYC'S 'Ghost Forest' Installation

‘We Have Very Little Time’

Lin became a household name when in 1981, as an undergraduate student at Yale University, she won the contract for the planned Vietnam Veteran’s War Memorial in Washington D.C. She’s also the designer behind the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Ala., and has received the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Now, Lin is addressing climate change in what she says is the reality our ecosystems face.

“We have very little time left to change how we live within the natural world,” Lin said.

“I wanted to bring awareness to a die-off that is happening all over the planet. But I also feel that a potential solution is through nature-based practices.”

Ghost Forest will be on display at Madison Square Park through November 14, 2021.

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