It’s easy to take your surroundings for granted. After awhile, no matter how imposing or exciting where you walk, live, or work is, it blurs into just another place you get through in order to do what you need to do. Every day, I walk through throngs of gray-faced commuters and bewildered tourists with enormous rolly bags asking for directions from anyone who will bother to stop for them. As for me, I put on my headphones and close down. No one exists outside of the music piped into my head and getting through Herald Square and Times Square is just an annoyance.
Sometimes, though, something makes your environment change and makes you see it anew. And that’s what The Public Art Fund does. I have always liked public art. When I think of public art, though, I think about fountains and statues of great men. Big, momentous things that beautify parks and small green public spaces. You know, civic minded stuff that pigeons take a crap on.
To be fair, that is how I sort of categorized the statue high above Columbus circle. I’ve never thought about it. I knew it was there but never took the time to actually look at it. Luckily for New Yorkers, Discovering Columbus, by Tatzu Nishi puts the formerly out-of-sight and out-of-mind Christopher Columbus and makes it totally accessible. Strangely, in more ways than one. How you might ask? By putting him in a LIVING ROOM. I kid you not!
The art installation has built an entire living room and foyer around him complete with a television. It’s hilarious and thought provoking at the same time. I took some photos and was impolitely taking photos at a party of strangers but I didn’t let my embarrassment stop me. (To the annoying guy around trying to squeeze into all of my photos – I know you are just trying to call attention to yourself or ruin my shots. Boo to you, guy.) I found everyone seemed to get comfortable with the statues while watching the large flat screen television and lounging on the sofa. Some were even eating food and watching the news. Yes, it was a little unusual. Get tickets to see Columbus at guest services at the Time Warner building on the 3rd floor.
As great as Discovering Columbus is, it isn’t the only project The Public Art Fund has showing right now. Check out Oscar Tuazon’s People in Brooklyn Bridge Park and Common Ground in City Hall Park. The Public Art Fund is a non-for-profit so please feel free to support them and artists by making a donation. They also sponsor free talks. You gotta love people who make New York a better place to look at and to be.
Have you seen anything lately that made you remember why you love where you live? Share below!