If you’ve been hanging around Columbus Circle in New York City these past several days, you might have noticed something different: there’s a gigantic box covering where the iconic statue of Christopher Columbus used to be. No, it isn’t under construction. Internationally renown artist Tatzu Nishi (b. 1960, Nagoya, Japan) is known for his temporary art installations in which he transforms a viewer’s typical experience of monuments, statues, and other architectural details. For his first public art project in the US, Nishi partnered with Public Art Fund to create an intimate meeting place with the 75 foot tall statue. The work, “Discovering Columbus,” is open to the public for free until Nov. 18!
What do you get when you climb the 6 flights of stairs to view this art installation? Oh, just Christopher Columbus himself, hanging out in a modern living room worthy of any penthouse in New York City. You’d expect Columbus to be overwhelming once you enter the room, just as he usually is when you’re squinting up at him from the ground, but it’s the complete opposite. Columbus fits right into the living room — you might even forget that he’s there, because there are are so many interesting details to the room that really signify Nishi’s perspective of American life and pop culture.
Roberta Smith from New York Times explains it better:
Having seen photographs of some of Mr. Nishi’s previous efforts, I have to admit that I expected a bit more Surrealist bang for my six-flight climb, something more emphatically akin to stepping into a painting by Magritte, but this sensation was only mildly present. While oversize, the domesticated Columbus statue is not as startling as I thought it would be. It didn’t seem all that out of place, or at least not nearly as odd or intrusive as some of Mr. Nishi’s other efforts, especially those, like the Singapore Merlion, in which only the statue’s immense head protrudes into the room.
Some things to take note of when you grab your own ticket to see Nishi’s exhibit:
- The wallpaper, which is a beautiful print showcasing prominent American landmarks and celebrities.
- The bookshelf, which displays admirable books that signify pop culture and growing American philosophies
- The random knickknacks carefully placed throughout the room
- The view! Do not leave this installation without absorbing the view. Never again will you get such a specific vantage point.
Get your free timed tickets here!