How’s this for a conversion with a killer view: Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi is building a public “living room” six stories high around the 19th-century statue of Christopher Columbus in one of Manhattan’s business intersections.
The installation, “Discovering Columbus,” will be a domestic space surrounding the 13-foot statue in Columbus Circle, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with the Gaetano Russo-designed icon. The room will include wallpaper, lamps, a couch, a coffee table, a television and loft-style windows looking out at Central Park and Midtown Manhattan from the marble Columbus’ perspective.
The free exhibition, commissioned by the nonprofit Public Art Fund, will run from Sept. 20 to Nov. 18.
“Nishi’s work is all about… drawing attention and giving access to the public to urban monuments, statues and architectural details that they wouldn’t normally have access to,” Public Art Fund director and chief curator Nicholas Baume told The Associated Press.
While the scaffolding around the privately funded installation is up, the city will pay $1 million for restoration work on the statue. The Public Art Fund has not released the cost of the project itself.
This marks Nishi’s first public art project in the United States.
“When Tatzu first visited New York City, he became fascinated with the statue,” Baume said in a statement. “Despite its central location, the Columbus statue is barely visible, a solitary figure hiding in plain sight atop a column some 70 feet in the air. Tatzu felt it was time to give Columbus an apartment of his own.”
Visitors will have to reserve passes through the Public Art Fund’s site in order to mount the stairs to the installation. There will also be an elevator for people who cannot climb the stairs.
Here’s a rendering of the finished product, courtesy of the Public Art Fund:
Photographs of the ongoing construction below, with bonus moody/artsy shots from The Shops at Columbus Circle: