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Matthew López-Jensen's "New School Forest" for In The Historical Present exhibition

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: NS-05-03-03


Consists of exhibited materials and artist's documentation of Matthew López-Jensen's "New School Forest" conceptual work, consisting of tree surveys and performance photographs depicting participants planting seeds outside of a New School building. "New School Forest" was included in The New School's centennial exhibition, In the Historical Present, held in the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center in 2019.


  • 2019



1.6 Cubic Feet (4 small flat boxes, 1 folder)

Language of Materials


Content Description

In 2019, The New School's celebration of its centennial included the art exhibition, In the Historical Present, a group show curated by Parsons School of Design faculty members Anna Harsanyi and Macushla Robinson. The exhibition was held from July into October in the university's Sheila C. Johnson Design Center's Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery, located at 2 West 13th Street in New York City. Included in the exhibition was GIDEST (Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography & Social Thought) fellow Matthew López-Jensen's work, "New School Forest." Associated exhibition programming included a performance by López-Jensen and guests.

The collection consists of the material exhibited in the gallery, primarily an archive of tree surveys documenting various trees growing around the university's Greenwich Village urban campus. Data recorded in the surveys includes assessments of tree health as well as damage and litter observed in tree pits. Other exhibition-related records consists of a black and white poster with a map and a project statement by López-Jensen.

Artist's documentation provided after the conclusion of the exhibition consists of maps showing numbering of trees and first drafts of tree surveys made in the field; event photographs held as part of the exhibition, depicting a performance in which López-Jensen led participants in planting seeds in an empty tree bed outside of The New School's University Center (63-65 Fifth Avenue); and a practice survey López-Jensen conducted with the event participants using a volunteer from the group as a stand-in for the tree.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use. Please contact for appointment.

Conditions Governing Use

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives and Special Collections. Please contact:

Biographical note

Matthew López-Jensen is an interdisciplinary artist with a focus on urban landscape, environmental art, mapping, and human interaction with the natural world, specifically through the act of walking. He holds a bachelor's degree in political science and fine art from Rice University in Texas and a master's of fine arts from the University of Connecticut, and has taught at Parsons School of Design (a division of The New School university) since 2015 and at Fordham University since 2020. López-Jensen has participated in a number of solo and group shows, mainly in New York City and the Northeast United States, including the exhibition at The New School's Sheila C. Johnson Design Center's In the Historical Present, July - October 2019.

From 2018-2019, he was the recipient of a GIDEST (Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography & Social Thought) Fellowship at The New School, where his research and presentations focused on street trees, trees planted between the sidewalk and the curb of a public street, and their stewardship. This research formed the basis for his work in In the Historical Present. He initially developed his GIDEST project, "The Forest Between," during a 2017-2018 residency with the New York City Urban Field Station in Queens, sponsored by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the United States Forest Service, a federal agency.

López-Jensen, Matthew. "Bio and contact." Artist's personal website. Accessed December 15, 2023:

The New School. "Fellows: Matthew Jenson." GIDEST. Accessed December 15, 2023:

The New School. "Exhibitions: In the Historical Present." Sheila C. Johnson Design Center. Accessed December 15, 2023:

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection delivered in two stages, the first consisting of the tree survey documentation exhibited in In the Historical Present by co-curator Anna Harsanyi and the second consisting of artist's documentation by Matthew López-Jensen, both in October 2019 following the closure of the exhibition.

Guide to Matthew López-Jensen's "New School Forest" for In The Historical Present exhibition
Jenny Swadosh
January 17, 2024
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