The month of May unveils some thought-provoking public art in New York City. Themes of climate change, undocumented workers lost to COVID-19, pollution in ocean environments, and surveillance are some of the heavy topics addressed and conceptualized by artists this month. These works are juxtaposed with some playful, color rich art involving light, community and daily life. Enjoy new public art this May and be sure to keep reading to catch installations still on view from previous months.
1. Ghost Forest by Maya Lin
Maya Lin’s Ghost Forest, a towering stand of fifty haunting Atlantic white cedar trees placed in Madison Square Park, is a newly-commissioned public artwork. Lin brings her vision as an artist and her agency as an environmental activist to this project, which embodies a memory of germination, vegetation, abundance, and a harsh symbol of the devastation of climate change.
The height of each tree, around forty feet, overwhelms human scale and stands as a metaphor of the outsized impact of a looming environmental calamity. The trees in Ghost Forest were all slated to be cleared as part of regeneration efforts in the fragile ecosystem of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. Ghost Forest will be in the park May 10 to November 14.