The Japanese artist, known for his elevated 'rooms' that allow visitors to connect face-to-face with historical monuments, has transformed the space around the iconic Columbus statue into a contemporary living room.
Mounted upon an obelisk at a height of 20m, 'Discovering Columbus' is a loft-style lounge with huge windows onto Central Park and the bustle of midtown - views that Columbus would surely boast about if he were still with us. But it's rather the prospect of entrée to the forever inaccessible 120-year-old marble statue that is the highlight. (Columbus has been given a good scrub for the occasion.)
Few artists have managed to marry architecture and interior design with spectacle and guerrilla-style goodwill quite like Nishi, who recently dismantled his successful pop-up Hotel Gent [sic], a guest suite crafted around the 100-year-old clock tower at Ghent's Sint-Pieters train station. Like in Ghent, New Yorkers keen to witness Nishi's 'spatial encounter' have to climb six flights of scaffolding to the floating room, where the artist has installed all the mod cons of the midtown apartment, including his own bespoke 'American pop culture' wallpaper.
The environment he creates in effect contemporises the marble relic, which appears remarkably in synch within a modern context. Alas, like most publicly funded outdoor art exhibitions, it'll close in November, before the harsh winter climate dampens the New Yorkers' enthusiasm for exploration.