Since about mid-August, there’s been some activity in Columbus Circle. We went over to check what all the fuss was about.
We arrived, tickets in hand, at the appointed hour to see the art installation, Discovering Columbus. Some of our party had a little further to come than others, so we waited until our group was complete before getting on line to go up and visit Columbus. Since it’s difficult for sweet husband to go up six flights of stairs, we took the hoist (a.k.a. construction site elevator) up…the youngsters took the stairs.
At the top, we exited into what looked like an entry hall in an ordinary apartment, and walked through to an extraordinary sight: the statue of Christopher Columbus perched atop a coffee table! The sunny living room is Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi‘s interpretation of an American living room, complete with flat-screen TV, an area for reading magazines, book cases stocked with literature reflecting American accomplishments, and specially designed wall paper depicting what he perceives as icons of American pop culture.
It’s all very well and good to come up and visit Columbus. It’s an opportunity to see the statue perched atop a 75-foot granite column as nose-to-nose as we can get, since the statue towers another 13 feet over us. It also got me to wondering what Columbus’s view would be…
From where he stands, facing South, he can easily check out the activity over on Eighth Avenue and the Museum of Arts and Design directly across the street. Then I imagined what he would see if he were to turn on his pedestal without his living room surrounding him. He’d get a view of Central Park South looking East, the monument to the Maine across the street at the entrance to Central Park, a great view of Central Park West and Broadway heading North, as well as the globe by the Columbus Circle subway station. He’d be able to peek through the windows of the Time Warner Center. If he were to look directly below, he’d catch a glimpse of the fountains surrounding his column in Columbus Circle.
I decided to take the stairs back down while sweet husband used the hoist. Nishi’s intention is about having an intimate view of the statue of Columbus. I was just as intrigued with the intimate view of the pedestal holding the statue that I saw on my way down, through the scaffolding and netting. It hadn’t occurred to me that there would be decorations and inscriptions on the column not ordinarily viewable from the ground and taken for granted since it’s about the statue and not the column. I must confess, I enjoyed the installation beneath the installation as much as the exhibit itself!