Louis Bury at Art in America:
The most haunting thing about Maya Lin’s Ghost Forest is how ordinary it appears. On the central “Oval Lawn” in New York City’s well-trafficked Madison Square Park, the celebrated architect and sculptor has installed a stand of forty-nine bare cedar trees, resembling a dying woodland. The tall, toothpick-like conifers, pruned of branches at human height and entirely devoid of leaves, are meant to serve as portents of environmental devastation. But the quotidian park-going activities—sunbathing, picnicking, dog walking—taking place within and around these symbols of apocalypse suggest how easily people can adjust their baseline sense of normalcy.
The bare trees were relocated from private land in the New Jersey Pine Barrens that was set to be cleared owing to saltwater inundation; their pocked and stripped bark is encrusted with pale gray lichen, which thrives in moist areas.