CLOUD GATE – Anish Kapoor’s ‘bean’ identifies Chicago

Artist Anish Kapoor reportedly hates the nickname, but it’s likely to stick.

It’s not easy to create an icon for a city, but Indian born British artist Anish Kapoor has done it for Chicago.

His giant chrome sculpture Cloud Gate, constructed between 2004-2006, is fast becoming the most instantly identifiable symbol of the town. No longer just the city of Al Capone, Frank Lloyd Wright and Barak Obama, Chicago is becoming the city of the Big Shiny Bean.

I’d seen a lot of photos of this work, but nothing does it justice. Like Ayers Rock/Uluru, you have to see it up close to understand how extraordinary it is.

Until you walk underneath, it’s impossible to get the whole picture.

To many, its perfectly polished surface is just like a fun fair distorting mirror. Only much more interesting.

Omphalos, a depression in its underside, causes wonderful, extraordinary effects.

Everyone wants to be photographed with Cloud Gate.

...even the seagulls.

I read that the artist not only hates its nickname, but was also dissatisfied with its site. It was intended to go in the nearby garden, reflecting nature below and the clouds above.

On its present site, it reflects the city skyline and, sorry Mr Kapoor, that seems appropriate.

It is a wonderful thing to me that a work of art can so capture the imagination of the public. People will come from all over the world to see this.

The writer was the guest of Chicago Tourism and Culture.


Filed under Art, USA

15 responses to “CLOUD GATE – Anish Kapoor’s ‘bean’ identifies Chicago

  1. Now I have to go to Chicago.

  2. I wonder how do they clean off the fingerprints and how often do they have to do it. The “bean” looks wonderful but also a bit of a maintenance problem. As for the nickname, spare a thought for Bert Flugelman whose similar shiny sphere’s in Rundle Mall in Adelaide will ever be known as Bert’s Balls.

    • I read that maintenance and security would be a constant concern, and made Cloud Gate controversial when it was first installed. A large part of the appeal is that the surface is so perfectly reflective.

      Yes, Bert’s Balls and his Shish-Kebab in Sydney. Mr Flugelman seems to specialise in nicknameable art.

  3. David Young

    What a wonderful sculpture to photograph. I could only find you in the last picture. Enjoying your travels and wish we were with you.

  4. Agnès van Putten-Beloeil

    Richard, ik ben jaloers. Staat op mijn verlanglijstje om te gaan zien… veel plezier in he States. Groetjes Agnès

  5. Chicago IS a fabulous city. I’ve lived here over 20 years and have seen so many improvements over the years. Fabulous architecture, friendly people, and the best part is the lake– it changes every day and between you and the horizon–nothing but water! I now can’t live without that!

  6. Jenny Thompson

    Richard – so happy you are enjoying the wonderful Chicago. I too loved the Bean and Marilyn and so much more about the place. A reminder about the Tenement Museum when you get back to NY. You haven’t told us how the show went???? things progress slowly but well at Tapitallee. Love to you both – Jenny and Peter

  7. Pingback: ANISH KAPOOR MAGIC – it’s all done with mirrors (mostly) | Richard Tulloch's LIFE ON THE ROAD

  8. Pingback: IT’S ALL DONE WITH MIRRORS – Marseilles | Richard Tulloch's LIFE ON THE ROAD

  9. This artist is amazing… I found great pictures of Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate in Art Days, here is the link! Enjoy! 🙂

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