I just spent two wonderful months in Chicago, and one of the best things I did was visit the bean. No not Mr. Bean - The Bean in Millennium Park. Actually the official name is Cloud Gate (us Chicagoans – I can say that now – at least I am going to call myself a Chicagoan) call it The Bean.
For me public art is usually a letdown. Instantly I think of the cement thing-a-ma-jig in Hyde Park in London that is supposed to be a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales. I don’t know how a cement oval full of water is representative of a beloved and popular yet tragic figure. It could be me. It could be the art?
I actually knew nothing about The Bean until I walked up to it. I had seen a few pictures and from that I thought it was a sphere. Imagine my surprise when I saw the actual Cloud Gate and the city skyline in its reflection.
Cloud Gate is the work of British artist Anish Kapoor. The inspiration is liquid mercury. The affect is pure awe. It is a complete and total delight for all who pass. You can’t help yourself to stop and look at the reflections find where you are standing and see the clouds floating above you. The Chicago skyline is seen in a completely new and exciting way.
The sculpture curves upwards on its bottom creating a passage way through the middle. This is the ‘gate’ by which you enter and see even more astonishing reflections. Some have even said it is like looking up into a giant spoon.