A statue of Christopher Columbus stands proudly 75 feet in the air, smack dab in the center of New York's Columbus Circle, but it rarely gets a second glance. Japanese installation artist Tatzu Nishi acted on a radical vision to change that with his new work "Discovering Columbus."
For this site-specific intervention, Nishi has reimagined the 13-foot monument which was sculpted by Gaetano Russo, and unveiled in 1892 to commemorate 400 years since Columbus' landing in the Americas.
In an odd juxtaposition, Nishi encased the iconic sculpture in a room designed to reflect the artist's idea of a typical New York apartment—that is, if one could afford a penthouse. Through November 18, visitors will climb a temporary, six-story-high structure that leads to the living room.
Complete with a flat screen TV, rugs, chairs, tables, and custom wallpaper inspired by American pop culture, the room offers a surreal space to contemplate the legacy of this explorer, as well as a bird's eye view of the Manhattan skyline.
Ultimately, the installation compels us to think about the surroundings we take for granted, and encourages us to interact with our public spaces very differently.
So what public monument in your city would you like to see reinvented?
Photos courtesy of Public Art Fund
by Tom Powel; second image by Jesse Hamerman