I finally discovered Columbus this week and it was an excellent adventure! The statue of Christopher Columbus has been standing in the middle of Columbus Circle for 120 years and thanks to the Public Art Fund ( directed and curated by Australian Nicholas Baume ) you can currently meet with the explorer face to face. Actually face to foot. A furnished living room has been constructed around the statue seventy feet off the ground, and this provides a quirky mood to an otherwise very serious marble man. Elvis and Mickey Mouse adorn the pink wallpaper, there are couches and bookshelves, a copy of today’s paper, and a flat-screen television beaming the latest news. Columbus clearly keeps up with the country he found ( and may have given us his preference for the election outcome ), and has one of the best views in the city.
By the time we waited for our timed entry in a curious queue, and then climbed the six flights of stairs, a camaraderie had grown between the visitors. Everyone chatted together, a little boy pulled a tooth while we waited and a woman in front worried about the liability of the scaffolding. So it already felt like we were a group of friends, and then walking into a comfy living room to meet Christopher, all we really needed was a cup of tea and a biscuit. The mood was what made the ‘exhibition’, it was fun and brought a great new life force to this historic man. Christopher is going to be accessible to the public until November 18th, and I’m tempted to pay him another visit. Except that maybe I’ll be queuing at the other end end of the city. Just imagine if the Statue of Liberty took visitors in a similar situation – oh la la!
Nicholas enjoyed your blog and will put you on the Public Art Fund’s mailing list.
Thank you Brigid – and thank you for the intel about Nicholas in the first place. Can’t wait to see what he does next!