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In Maya Lin’s ‘Ghost Forest,’ the Trees Are Talking Back (The New York Times)

Jul 1, 2021 | Art, Press

In Maya Lin’s ‘Ghost Forest,’ the Trees Are Talking Back (The New York Times)

Ghost Forest by Maya Lin. Photo: Madeline Cass

On a sultry summer day the trees across the street from my Bronx apartment are deep in conversation. Trees are, science tells us, social beings and do some of the same things we humans do, at least when we’re acting our best. They trade tips about health, news about weather. They nourish, and protect, and support each other. They support fellow beings too: birds, insects, us. They live sane lives. They generate excellent karma.

Unlike us. In a goes-around-comes-around universe, the karma we’re producing — through competitive greed, unthinking waste and targeted malice — is killing the world around us. We’re at war with the planet and everything on it, trees included.

The artist and architect Maya Lin began her career with a response to a war. Her 1982 Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, a blade of black granite slashed into American soil, commemorates a “foreign” war that became an internal one and divided the nation. Her new installation, “Ghost Forest,” on view in Madison Square Park in Manhattan through Nov. 14, is commemorative too. It’s a sky-reaching memorial to a war in progress directed against everything we call Nature.

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