October 8th, 2012
11:12 AM ET

Japanese artist gives statue monumental abode

Written By Heather M. Higgins, CNN
Video Edited By Nina Raja, CNN

New York - On October 8, the world’s largest celebration of Italian-American heritage will travel up New York's Fifth Avenue in honor of the exploration and the courage that inspired Christopher Columbus’s discovery 520 years ago.

However, just three blocks to the west, residents and tourists have a rare opportunity to discover Columbus for the first time - at a whimsical art installation that has already caused intrigue and irritation within the community.

“When will you ever get the chance to have this face-to-face experience with the monument, the statue of Columbus,” said Nicholas Baume, director and chief curator of the Public Art Fund, a non-profit with a mission to bring dynamic, contemporary art projects to New York City.

“I think it’s a way of creating an intimacy and turning the public into the domestic in a very unique way," Baume continued. “And I think it’s a work about imagination, turning a fiction into a temporary reality.”

Japanese intervention artist Tatzu Nishi’s first major U.S. work, “Discovering Columbus,” places a 13-foot-high icon in the center of a modern American living room six stories above one of the city’s most bustling intersections.

This fresh vantage point offers dramatic views of Central Park and Midtown Manhattan from four loft-style windows. But more importantly, many see this exhibit as a teachable moment about Columbus, the statue, and the circle itself.

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Filed under: Art • History • The Next List • Video • World