Thursday, April 20, 2023

Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean,” is one of Chicago’s most popular sights.

Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean,” is one of Chicago’s most famous sights. The monumental work of art anchors downtown Millennium Park and reflects the city’s famous skyline and the surrounding green space. 

Sir Anish Mikhail Kapoor, a British-Indian sculptor specializing in installation and conceptual art, is responsible for creating the Cloud Gate.

Cloud Gate was created using computer technology to cut 168 massive stainless-steel plates into precise shapes, piecing them together like a puzzle and welding them shut. Once fully assembled, the 12-foot-high central arch provided a “gate” to the concave chamber on the underside of the sculpture prompting Kapoor to formally name the piece Cloud Gate. A network of two large internal rings connects a truss, assembling the sculpture and directing the weight to two points at the base. The stainless-steel skin was attached to the internal structure with flexible connectors that allowed it to expand and contract in response to the extreme weather conditions in Chicago. The Millennium Park Foundation completely underwrote the cost of Cloud Gate using funds from private donors.

The Bean is a work of public art in the heart of Chicago. The Cloud Gate sculpture is one of the world’s largest permanent outdoor art installations. The monumental work was unveiled in 2004 and quickly became one of Chicago’s iconic sights. The Bean is 33 feet high, 42 feet wide, and 66 feet long. It weighs about 110 tons.

The Bean’s reflective surface was inspired by liquid mercury. This shiny exterior reflects the people moving around the park, the lights of Michigan Avenue, and the surrounding skyline and green space, perfectly encapsulating the Millennium Park experience. The polished surface also invites visitors to touch it and observe their reflections, giving it an interactive quality.

Today, Cloud Gate is a Chicago landmark.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

1 comment:

  1. Dr. Gale. All your research and articles are so appreciated.
    When I read Cloud gate was revealed in 2004, I could hardly fathom where the time had gone. I have yet to visit it, from the nearby suburbs! That and the Chapel in the Sky!. Peace unto you.


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