Last fall, the artist Tatzu Nishi created a fully furnished living room around the statue at the center of New York's Columbus Circle. The installation, Discovering Columbus, upended the relationship between the sculpture, 75 feet above the street, and its setting; meant to be seen from a distance, it was now encountered, somewhat unsettlingly, at point-blank range. Provocative and controversial, the piece was also temporary.
Something similar is happening in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, except it isn't temporary. A section of the campus of the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, designed by Paul Rudolph in 1960, is being engulfed in a new living room. That room, complete with fireplaces and walnut-paneled nooks, is meant to make part of the campus more usable; like Discovering Columbus, it has the effect of bringing visitors in close proximity to sculpture—in this case, Rudolph's evocative concrete forms.