Construction scaffolding -- like yellow cabs --
is ubiquitous in New York City, so it’s easy to
shrug off the maze of metal surrounding the soaring 1892 marble monument to
Christopher Columbus at the heart of Columbus Circle.
But the parade of pedestrians climbing a staircase to the
is a hint that something else is going on.
The scaffolding is supporting an exhibition
by Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi called Discovering Columbus, which is built around
the eponymous statue, six stories up. Known for installations that bring a new
perspective to landmarks and architectural objects, Nishi has constructed a
fully decorated living room in which the 13ft-tall figure
of the 15th-century explorer holds centre stage.
ascending 96 steps, the public gets close up access
to the statue, now surrounded by pink-papered walls with a motif of Elvis, hotdogs and other iconic
Americana rather than its normal backdrop of skyscrapers and
Central Park. Visitors are welcome to make themselves at home — the temporary
space sports a couch, chairs, a flat-screen TV and a stocked bookshelf — while
contemplating the hulking Columbus.
exhibition is open from 10 am to 9 pm daily through
18 November. Free timed tickets are required for entry and can either be sourced
online or from the ticket desk on the third floor of the Shops at
Columbus Center. After the
public viewing, the 120-year-old weather-weary statue will undergo a more
extensive facelift that is set to complete by the end of the year, at which
point the scaffolding will be removed.