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Maya Lin

Ghost Forest

A photograph of a group of barren trees taken from a low angle, aimed up towards the sky

Ghost Forest derives its name from the eponymous natural phenomenon: vast tracts of forestland that have died off due to extreme weather events related to climate change as well as sea-level rise and saltwater infiltration.

To coincide with the public art installation Ghost Forest, commissioned by Madison Square Park Conservancy, Fotografiska New York now hosts a multimedia exhibition of photographs, sketches, models, and a VR experience documenting the creative process of artist Maya Lin as she conceptualized and installed the project.

A photograph of a well-manicured group of trees
A photograph of a well-manicured group of trees, with an urban setting in the distant background

To create the installation, Lin worked together with the Conservancy to source 49 full-grown, dead Atlantic cedars from a restoration project in the Pine Barrens in New Jersey. Standing 40-45 feet tall, the trees signify the dwindling population of their species due to threats posed by climate change, and address the dire reality of this naturally occurring phenomenon by encouraging a consideration of nature-based solutions that can protect and restore the ecosystem.

To further contextualize the exhibition, in a partnership with Madison Square Park Conservancy, Fotografiska will host a series of conversations with environmental experts such as Elizabeth Kolbert, New Yorker environmental writer and author of The Sixth Extinction; Edwina von Gal, landscape architect and founder of Perfect Earth Project, and a film screening of The Pine Barrens by David Scott Kessler, with live score accompaniment by The Ruins of Friendship.

Maya Lin is internationally recognized for her wide-ranging practice which encompasses large-scale environmental installations, architectural projects, and memorials, as well as intimate studio artworks.

Madison Square Park Conservancy is grateful to the following generous supporters who contributed to the presentation of Ghost Forest in Madison Square Park:

Ghost Forest in Madison Square Park is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Leadership support for this exhibition is generously provided by The Ruth Stanton Foundation. Major support for the exhibition is generously provided by Agnes Gund, Amazon, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Ronald and Jo Carole Lauder Foundation, and Pace Gallery. Substantial support is provided by the Ford Foundation, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, The Scintilla Foundation, Marders, and the Henry Moore Foundation. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology kindly provided material, expertise, and editing support for the soundscape. Madison Square Park Conservancy acknowledges the generous contributions of Colin McLaughlin, Advanced Forestry Solutions and Bob Williams, Pine Creek Forestry.

Support for the exhibition catalogue is generously provided by the James Howell Foundation.

Ghost Forest in Madison Square Park is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the New York State Legislature.

Major support for Madison Square Park Conservancy’s art program is provided by Sasha C. Bass, Bunny and Charles Burson, Toby Devan Lewis, Ronald A. Pizzuti, Thornton Tomasetti, Tiffany & Co., Anonymous, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. Substantial support is provided by Charina Endowment Fund, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, The Sol LeWitt Fund for Artist Work, Madison Square Park Conservancy Art Council, Audrey and Danny Meyer, and The Rudin Family. Additional support is provided by 400 Park Avenue South, The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston, Irving Harris Foundation, Lenore G. Tawney Foundation, and Fern and Lenard Tessler.

This indoor installation is organized by Grace Noh of Fotografiska New York in collaboration with Madison Square Park Conservancy, the artist, and James C. Ewart, Manager of Maya Lin Studio.

Ghost Forest is organized by Brooke Kamin Rapaport, Deputy Director and Martin Friedman Chief Curator; Tom Reidy, Deputy Director, Finance and Special Projects; and Truth Murray-Cole, Curatorial Manager. Keats Myer is the Conservancy’s Executive Director.