09 October 2012

Discovering Columbus

I'm on art appreciation mode and today, instead of a museum, let's take a look at an art installation. 

via pksb.com

There's a place in New York City called Columbus Circle, a rotunda flanked by Eighth Avenue, Broadway and 59th Street/Central Park West.
via gonetonewyork
At the center is a statue of Christopher Columbus standing on a tall column. It was made by Gaetano Russo to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s first voyage to the Americas.

These days, however, the statue is wrapped in scaffolding. No, not for restoration, but for art.

The project is called "Discovering Columbus", a brainchild of Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi.  

The mission: to appreciate the statue in a different light.

Tickets are needed to get in. Don't worry, they're free. 
You can get them here.

But you'll have to climb up many, many steps to see it.  I did have to catch my breath at the top.

 The view from above: Central Park

The view below: guests waiting their turn 

Then, you'll be ushered into a living room with Columbus' back greeting you. Quite rude? I think it adds to the drama! 

The space is the artist's interpretation of a modern 
New York City apartment.

But instead of a vase of flowers or a stack of coffee table books, Christopher Columbus is the centerpiece; the art that anchors the room; the sculpture that is larger than life. How many living rooms in New York City can have this for bragging rights? 

The original white marble statue is now 50 shades of gray. Well, it's over a hundred years old {unveiled in 1892} -- time and pollution casually crept up on him. The details, however, have stayed in tact.

The fictional room is convincing with a credenza and television.

There is a shelf with an intelligent collection of books and minimalist ephemera. There are also paintings, as well as black and white photos on display.

The wall paper was also designed by the artist, reflecting his impressions of America as a child: the Empire State Building, Elvis Presley, Mickey Mouse, Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Marilyn Monroe.

There is a sectional and several chairs around the statue that welcome guests to sit awhile. With people milling around, it's like a cocktail party hosted by a Manhattan millionaire, showing off his latest digs and art piece.

Here's my point of view while seated on one of the comfy chairs.

I thoroughly enjoyed this experience -- an intimate meeting with Mr. Columbus, who I would otherwise ignore on a regular day when this installation isn't around {just like many other historical statues that dot the city}. Kudos to Mr. Tatzu Nishi for this fresh perspective! What you do is truly blah to TADA!


  1. that wallpaper is the greatest...all the great things about America...right?


    1. Hello Rachael! I found the wallpaper really cute, too :)


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