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Japanese artist creates living room in the sky around NY monument

posted 19 Sept 2012, 14:02 by Mpelembe   [ updated 19 Sept 2012, 14:03 ]

Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi transforms Christopher Columbus statue in New York's Columbus Circle into an elevated art space.

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (SEPTEMBER 19, 2012) (REUTERS) - A statue of Christopher Columbus has a new living room that most New Yorker's can only dream of. The landmark, which is located in Manhattan's famed Columbus Circle, was transformed by Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi into a temporary public art space.

"I am happy that it finally came to fruition, even half a year ago I wasn't sure if it would happen. So finally it came true and it feels great to have it done," Nishi said.

The installation enables visitors to see the statue, which stands 70 feet high above street level, from an entirely new vantage point. The contemporary art space has loft style windows, which let viewers take in views of Central Park and Manhattan streetscapes.

At the unveiling of the project to the media on Wednesday (September 19) New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the installation is unique.

"It is really interesting. It is different and it gives you a chance to get up close to somebody that really had an enormous impact on the world. The view will really knock your socks off as they say, being there is an exhilarating once in a lifetime chance to take in some of New York City's busiest streets."

Like many of Nishi's previous works, the statue and its environment inspired his creation. He said he walked around New York looking at various landmarks and when he came upon this Columbus statue the idea evolved.

The space features details of a living room, such as a book case, furniture and works of art - and also custom wallpaper designed by Nishi, that features images from American popular culture that he was exposed to growing up in Japan.

This is his first major project in the U.S., so the artist said he is "wondering how Americans and visitors too will react to my work."

Entrance to the exhibit, which is funded by the Public Art Fund, is free. The exhibition will be open to the public September 20th - November 18th.