photo: Nicholas Baume
One of the great things about living in New York is the display of public contemporary art dotted throughout the city. These days, the “it” show to see in Manhattan is the art installation Tatzu Nishi: Discovering Columbus.
photo: (left) Christopher Eckel | (right) Jesse Hamerman
Taking advantage of the fact that the historic sculpture of Christopher Columbus at Columbus Circle (where Eighth Avenue, Broadway, Central Park West and 59th Street all intersect) – needs some “loving”, the dynamic Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi (b. 1960) was commissioned by the Public Art Fund of the City of New York to build an installation around the statue to be open to the public prior to its restoration in November.
Known for public installations that change our experiences of monuments, like his Villa Victoria, where a temporary functioning hotel was built around the statue of Queen Victoria in Liverpool or Engel, where a 1-room apartment was built over the roof of the 14th-century Basel Cathedral in Switzerland, The Columbus project is the bomb!
Here Nishi re-imagines the 13-foot-tall sculpture standing on the cocktail table of a fully furnished modern living room; TV, books, sofas and all. He even designed the quirky wallpaper inspired by his memories of American culture during his childhood in Japan.
What I truly loved was the chance to experience the statue in a completely different way – climbing up 6 flights of stairs in the middle of this crazy traffic intersection to share Columbus’ vantage point.
photo: (left) the author as captured by TMZ paparazzi
image credits: Richard Rabel unless otherwise noted. The installation is open until 18 November 2012 and the entrance is free to the public on a timed ticket. Go to the website here.
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