The Public Art Fund will open its newest exhibit “Discovering Columbus” on Thursday, and you can start reserving tickets now. The exhibit consists of a staircase that climbs up to the top of the 75-foot-tall granite column holding the statue of Christopher Columbus in Columbus Circle, leading to a “living room” built around the statue itself.
Tatzu Nishi, the Japanese artist who conceived of the installation, is known for building these kinds of rooms around objects and statues. Here’s how the Public Art Fund describes it:
“Nishi’s project re-imagines the colossal 13-foot-tall statue of Columbus standing in a fully furnished, modern living room. Featuring tables, chairs, couch, rug, and flat-screen television, the décor reflects the artist’s interpretation of contemporary New York style. He even designed wallpaper inspired by memories of American popular culture, having watched Hollywood movies and television as a child in Japan. Discovering Columbus offers both a unique perspective on a historical monument and a surreal experience of the sculpture in a new context. Allowing us to take a journey up six flights of stairs to a fictional living room, Tatzu Nishi invites us to discover for ourselves where the imagination may lead.”
Our commenters have scoffed at it as a tourist “theme park,” and a critic for The Real Deal lamented the fact that it caused the circle to close for months: “What provokes my indignation is the decision of the Parks Department, which holds sway over this tiny island, to lock down the site, in whole or in part, for almost half a year, thus denying the citizens of New York the right to use their city in the way in which it was intended to be used.”
The exhibit will be open every day between September 20 and November 18 from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Because of high expected demand, visitors can only access the site for 30 minutes at a time, and you’ll have to reserve a spot in advance. The site is ADA compliant, with a “hoist” available for people who need it.
And please send us your impressions of the exhibit, good or bad!
Images via Public Art Fund.