An apartment for Christopher Columbus

At the center of Columbus Circle in NYC is a statue of Christopher Columbus on a column.  Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi has built an apartment that encircles the statue…on its column!

Find out more about this work here, and enjoy the video.

More images are here.

“Obviously, until now, he was up there by himself, alone,” said Tatzu Nishi, the conceptual artist who designed the structure. “So we want to change it into something really homey, warm, [and] domestic feeling.”  You’ve got to see these images!

Much has changed at the Circle over the years…..

12 thoughts on “An apartment for Christopher Columbus

  1. Ruth Bordett

    I like that the “apartment” allows viewers to get a closer look at the statue of Columbus since one is unable to get a detailed view of it where it is located. I think Nishi put an interesting spin on such a famous New York landmark, providing a piece of contemporary art that is very accessible to pedestrians. Hopefully the apartment’s fresh take on the statue will lead to a new appreciation and point of view towards historic statues like that found in Columbus Circle.

  2. Robbie O'Donnell

    At first glance I had no idea that there was an actual “apartment” that was enclosing the statue. Then, when I looked at the pictures I actually started to laugh because the idea is so obscure and the pictures so comical that I didn’t really know if I could take it seriously. However, it does make sense in terms of preservation because no matter how ridiculous it is, it does protect the statue from the elements and preserves it for generations to come.

  3. Connor Chilton

    I think this is a good idea. I like the design of the apartment and the fact that it helps protect the statue from the elements. I think this is a very good idea, and it also allows a good aesthetic experience to those who live in the apartment. I also really like the idea that it encircles the statue on its column.

  4. Isaac Whalen

    This brings to mind the question I was always forget to think about when it comes to sculpture:”how is it going to be viewed.” Certainly when it was first built a sculpture on this magnitude in the middle of a busy intersection would have been easier to view before traffic and cars. I think this idea of having a building around a sculpture like this not only makes the work more accesible, but is a prime example of how architecture can meld with existing structures.

  5. Matthew Carlsson

    I think this ruins the statue. It looks so out of place in an apartment. It should be surrounded by the green of plants. What a ridiculous idea in the first place. Anyway, I’d love to see him carefully moved to a more serene location, perhaps in a park somewhere. That’s where such a great piece of sculpture belongs, a place where the whole world can see it.

  6. Megan Rosengrant

    I find that I have conflicted views with this new development. To preface, I throughly appreciate the attempt to revitalize “old” works with the vibrancy of contemporary vision. However, I find that this is a balance rarely achieved. Either the contemporary work looks out of place, or the older work is rendered an obtrusion on the newer atmosphere. In the building around the statue, I feel as if the idea was good, but the presentation leaves something to be desired. I feel as if the statue is secluded from the outside world in an effort to showcase it.
    This serves for an interesting question, at least for me, in the philosophical arena. I am berated with the question of the reality of self expression. When we make an effort to show ourselves in our entirety, do we actually hide ourselves behind the illusion of open spaces? To this, I find myself answering yes. For this reason and for simple aesthetic taste, I find myself awaiting the day when this temporary piece is removed.

  7. Jessica L. Coles

    • There is controversy about selection made for Christopher Columbus saying that it diminishes the look of this world renowned icon. In a press conference it is said something along the lines of if painting was not meant to be seen it would not have been created. The creator, Tatzu Nishi says “I believe art is showing people something they have never seen… I don’t want to show something people are already expecting.” The work is the living room of Columbus consisting of a giant statue of him situated in the center. Placed in New York City the room consists of modern day American images with an addition of an early American icon. The statue of Columbus is a previously built structure in which Nishi simply designs this apartment around entitling it “Discovering Columbus.” The structure gives Columbus a new place in America setting him in a fresh environment. True the structure seems bizarre at first glance but it is a clever twist on originality even though the actual statue is no longer seen in its full glory.

  8. Sarah Wilson

    I think it was a smart idea to keep the preservation safe by using the “apartment” so that people would be able to enjoy it for many years later. I also like that it allows the viewers to get a better look at it than they would be able to if the apartment had not been included. While some people may think using an apartment is not a very aesthetically pkeasing way to preserve it, I feel that it is much more effective than if they had used anything else, such as plants.

  9. Brittany Johnson

    This piece is very important to me because of the implications. Throughout the article it is emphasized that with the building of the apartment, the statue was more accessible to the public at a much better view. I feel like this speaks volumes about the age of technology we live in. Making all art accessible to everybody, and effectively ‘putting it right in your home’ is the best way to spread art and inspire the masses.

  10. Sara Z

    While seeing the statue being surrounded by modernized buildings removes that historical feel when the audience gazes upon the statue, the apartments give the statue a more befitting, modern setting in an already modern environment around it. However, if I were to choose between approving and disapproving Tatzu Nishi’s installation, I’d say Nishi’s installation makes the Christopher Columbus statue feel out of place with such a strong contrast. I do not necessarily think the statue should be surrounded by ships or heavy greenery installations but rather have a simple and “timeless” installation to be better integrated into the environment.


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