“The Bean” Chicago
No visit to Chicago would be complete without a visit to “The Bean” in Millenium Park. We went there to scope this amazing artifact and were transfixed by its simplicity and amazing mystical beauty. As one circumvents the structure, the reflection of the cityscape and sky constantly changes. One can also go under The Bean where a combination of concave and convex surfaces make things crazy cool! Our first look convinced us that we should return when it was not over crowded with tourists. We found that opportunity the day after New Years – we were treated to brisk Chicago Winds, a sprinkling of snow and few folks willing to face the New Year as early as we were. Now a bit about The Bean (As people have nicknamed it)!
Cloud Gate, a sculpture by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor, is the centerpiece of Millenium Park and was constructed between 2004 and 2006. The sculpture is nicknamed “The Bean” because of its obvious shape and is made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together, its highly polished exterior has no visible seams. It is 33 by 66 by 42 feet and weighs 110 tons.
Said to have been inspired by liquid mercury, the sculpture’s surface reflects and distorts the city’s skyline. Visitors are able to walk around and under Cloud Gate’s 12-foot high arch. On the underside is the “omphalos” (Greek for “navel”), a concave chamber that warps and multiplies reflections. The sculpture builds upon many of Kapoor’s artistic theme, and is popular with tourists as a photo-taking opportunity for its unique reflective properties.
The sculpture was selected during a design competition. After Kapoor’s design was chosen, numerous technological concerns regarding the design’s construction and assembly arose, in addition to concerns regarding the sculpture’s upkeep and maintenance. Various experts were consulted, some of whom believed the design could not be implemented. Eventually, a feasible method was found, but the sculpture’s construction fell behind schedule. It was unveiled in an incomplete form during the Millennium Park grand opening celebration in 2004, before being concealed again while it was completed. Cloud Gate was formally dedicated on May 15, 2006, and has since gained considerable popularity, both domestically and internationally.
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Kathleen and Erik