I caught the installation called “Discovering Columbus” on Saturday, the eve of its closing. Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi had built a condo-cliche living room around the statue of Christopher Columbus that has looked down on Columbus Circle in New York for more than a century. Thanks to Nishi’s intervention, we got to to see all sorts of details in the statue that no one has since it was carved: Details of the explorer’s shoes, of his hat, of his hand on a tiller. This puts the statue in a category that fascinates me: Works of visual art that barely qualify as visual. Various grave goods come to mind, but I think almost every artwork has some carefully conceived details that are irrelevant to our visual appreciation of it.
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