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Living room built around NYC Columbus statue a hit

Associated Press Published: October 8, 2012

"How can one artist hijack the work of another artist?" he complained.

The statue rests on a 60-foot granite column at the southwest corner of Central Park. Columbus' marble features usually are visible only from afar.

For his first installation in the United States, Nishi has perched Columbus' home atop scaffolding that encases the column.

The statue rises out of a large coffee table so that it seems to preside over a highbrow salon. Pink wallpaper, designed by the artist, depicts American icons Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and Martin Luther King Jr.

Because Time Warner Inc. and Mayor Michael Bloomberg's media company are sponsors, the magazines include Bloomberg Business Week and the TV is on CNN with the sound on low. Fresh newspapers are laid out every day

Visitors can plop themselves on the sectional, admire the views and scan the titles on Columbus' bookshelves, which include Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass," Barack Obama's "The Audacity of Hope" and books about baseball and American history.

"I was really enjoying trying to figure out who are these people who live in this apartment," said art therapist Bonnie Hirschhorn. "I was picturing some New York City intellectual."