Discovering Columbus

Discovering Columbus is a temporary, public art installation by Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi. Nishi is known for reimagining public monuments so that we can see them in a different context.

In this work, he takes the inaccessible statue of Columbus, which stands over 70 feet above Columbus Circle in Manhattan, and enables us to view the work up close within the confines of a living space.

The 13-foot statue of Columbus was commissioned by the city for the 400th anniversary of Columbus's voyage to the New World. The statue was unveiled in 1892 and has remained atop its tall granite column for over 100 years, largely invisible against the bright sky.

The exhibit runs from September through November, 2012, and consists of a large scaffold atop which sits the living room, complete with furniture, lamps, a television, and bookshelf. One climbs up the steps to the top where Eighth Avenue, Broadway, and 59th Street vanish toward the horizon, and Central Park is stretches to the north.

Discovering Columbus

The Discovering Columbus art installation. The statue of Columbus is ensconced within the room on top of the scaffold.

Discovering Columbus Sign

The sign at the base of the Discovering Columbus installation.

Looking north, where Broadway (left) and Central Park West (right), or 8th Avenue, run north.

Major Arteries

Broadway (left) and Central Park West (right) running north from Columbus Circle.

Central Park West

Along Central Park, 8th Avenue becomes the two-way Central Park West.

Inside the living room, where Columbus dominates the space from the middle of the coffee table. The wallpaper is uniquely American too.

Discovering Columbus I

The Columbus statue in the Discovering Columbus exhibit by Tatzu Nishi.

Discovering Columbus II

Columbus's living room, with a view to die for.

Discovering Columbus III

Many New Yorkers believe the Columbus statue has always looked a little on the gay side. He's striking quite a pose over 8th Avenue.

Columbus Pose

Columbus close-up. This is probably the last time I'll get an up close and personal look at Chris for the rest of my life.

Discovering Columbus IV

Chris's living room atop Columbus Circle--autumn light pours through the southern windows.

Americana Wallpaper

The wallpaper inside the Discovering Columbus exhibit. Elvis, Marilyn, Micky, Martin and Malcolm and Michael appear, along with the hot dog, baseball, Coca-Cola and McDonald's beside the iconic western landscape of Monument Valley.

The view south, down 8th Avenue.

8th Avenue

Down 8th Avenue from 59th Street.

8th Avenue Bustle

The hustle and bustle of 8th Avenue in midtown Manhattan. (The hustlers are about 20 block south of here.)

The view toward Central Park. On the opposite side of the park is the Upper East Side. My wide-angle lens can barely get Central Park West and 59th Street in the same frame.

Upper East Side

The Upper East Side from Columbus Circle.

Central Park Gateway

The Columbus Circle gateway to Central Park, with Central Park West to the left and 59th Street to the right.