— NEW YORK (AP) — Anyone hoping to commune with Christopher Columbus on Columbus Day will be disappointed: He's booked solid. Monday's tickets to the conceptual art installation that surrounds a 13-foot statue of the explorer with a well-appointed living room have all been snapped up.
The exhibit, "Discovering Columbus" by Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi, has become a must-see cultural attraction in New York since it opened Sept. 20. Some 20,000 people have made the walk up six flights of stairs for the up-close view of Columbus, as well as the unique views of Midtown Manhattan and Central Park.
"Living room in the sky? I thought 'Cool. Check it out,'" said business analyst Brianna Goodman, who visited this past week. "I would never have thought to build a living room around a statue, but it made it like an intimate setting. And then the view from up there!"
Artist Martha Bone said the walk up and down the stairs was well worth it. "It was one of the best installations I've ever seen. ... It's my city. I like to know what's going on in it."
The exhibit is being presented by the city's Public Art Fund, and free timed tickets can be reserved at www.publicartfund.org. Another 80,000 are slated to see the exhibit before it ends Nov. 18.
"What I have been absolutely thrilled about is that I think the project has really captured the imagination of New York," said Public Art Fund director Nicholas Baume.
Not everyone is a fan. John Mancini, executive director of the Italic Institute of America, said the artwork turns the 1892 statue by Italian sculptor Gaetano Russo into "a stage prop."
"How can one artist hijack the work of another artist?" he complained.