Maya Lin to Conjure Dying Trees to Make a Point

Those walking through Madison Square Park in June may find themselves wondering at why some trees seem to be dying during the lushest time of the year. That is because a grove of spectral cedar trees will have been placed there by the artist and architect Maya Lin as part of her installation focusing on how climate change has impacted woodlands around the world.

“Ghost Forest,” the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s 40th public art commission, explores forests that have died off because of climate change, sea-level rise and saltwater infiltration.

“I want to pull this stark image into the middle of Manhattan where everything is very green,” Ms. Lin said in a telephone interview. “There is something emotionally ghostly about walking through one of these forests. I’ve always been very concerned about the environment.”

The installation will include literature about nature-based solutions.

“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, the deputy director and chief curator of the Conservancy. “Ghost Forest underscores the concept of transience and fragility, and stands as a grave reminder of the consequences of inaction to the climate crisis.”

On view from June 8 through Dec. 13, 2020, “Ghost Forest” will use dead trees sourced from the Pine Barrens in New Jersey that were damaged by extreme salinization during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Although perhaps best known for her Vietnam memorial in Washington and her sculpture honoring women at Yale, Ms. Lin has also focused on addressing climate change in her work.