Beaned in Chicago

Posted: May 21, 2016 in Miscellaneous
Tags: , , ,

In 2004, sculptor Anish Kapoor’s “Cloud Gate” was unveiled in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago..  The initial mocking sobriquet of “The Electric Kidney Bean” was eventually lovingly shortened to “The Bean” and Chicago and its visitors embraced this marvel. 80% of it reflects the sky and twice a year it gets washed with 40 gallons of liquid Tide, the better to reflect both the city and its enthralled visitors.

When first spotted, the resemblance to a space ship is strong.  On this warm, sunny spring day, it’s a stunning sight and up close, it’s even more intriguing.

© janet m. web 2016

The edge seems to flow seamlessly into the sky and the city takes on a whole new beautiful look as it bends and reflects.

© janet m. webb 2016

With a little vintage riff, you get an old picture postcard look.

© janet m. webb 2016

I had a good time taking photos of people taking family or group photos so they could all get in the shot.  In return, someone offered to take one of me, doing my part to keep the Bean in place.

© janet m. webb 2016

Under the Bean, though, things change from a distorted yet charming reflection of the city to a definite Escher-like look. But that’s a picture story for another time.

  1. Su Leslie says:

    Lovely photos Janet. I am a fan of Anish Kapoor’s work and really want to see the bean one day. His ‘Dismemberment’ is here in Auckland, and very impressive.

    • I looked up a few of his other works online and they’re certainly impressive and different. What I love about the Bean are the reflections and then, underneath, the distortions.


  2. what a treat to experience this work. i was in Chicago a number of times long before this work was there. clearly this would be high on the agenda if i ever make it back again. way fun. thank you.

    • Two great things about it, Rick, is that it’s easily accessible and it’s free. I hope you can see it in person one day soon, but in the meantime, I’m glad you could visit virtually. I’ll have some more photos soon.


  3. pommepal says:

    That is just amazing. The mind and skill to create it leaves me mesmerised.

  4. Hammad Rais says:

    This is indeed very unique. A simple giant bean containing such vastness in it. Amazing!!

  5. macmsue says:

    What a great piece of art work.

    • It’s really impressive, Judy, that’s for sure. Interesting to think what it would be like in a mountainous area or other non-city place.


  6. Allan G. Smorra says:

    I can see hours of fun taking photos here, Janet. The first photo definitely looks like a spaceship set down in the city and the next one is very onerous and intriguing.

    Have you ever used the Matter app? It allows you to put abstract objects and effects like the Bean into photos.

    I look forward to seeing more Bean photos in the future,

    • I downloaded the Matter app after seeing it on your site, Allan, but I’ve only used it once. It could be fun to use to place the Bean in other photos. The Bean makes selfies interesting, too.


  7. basildonkitchens says:

    Wow! Another place to add to my bucket list!!!

  8. Dan Antion says:

    When I was last in Chicago, a friend took me on a long walking tour along the shoreline and through the park. I loved The Bean!

    • One of my favorite places downtown, although I haven’t spent much time there. This summer I hope to get down there more often and just explore.


  9. bythebriny says:

    Great photos, love those distortions. Bean there a few years back!

    • The photos underneath are even more interesting. For a big city, Chicago is a lot of fun, less spread out then LA and more open than NYC. I like that I can get there by train and don’t have to drive, park, and pay a fortune for the privilege. 🙂


  10. Like a crystal ball for a giant…

  11. That is on my list of things I’d like to see! Great photos!!

    • It’s really something worth seeing and there are lots more things in downtown Chicago. I’m glad I don’t live in the city, but I love being able to take the train down there if I want to. Glad you liked the photos..


  12. Jui says:

    This is amazing!! 🙂

  13. RuthsArc says:

    How cool. Love it and your photos 🙂

  14. It’s great to fool around with reflections, isn’t it? You certainly made the most of it.

    • Marga, I love reflections and this one turned out to be a lot of fun, although I don’t know that I thought it would look like this when I took the shot.


      • I also catch myself capturing reflections many times, because I cannot get enough of them. This Bean was a nice surprise then, even later on when you looked at the pictures.

      • Marga, I thought I was replying to my shot of reflections on the train. Sorry. I did know how the Bean shots looked and I think you could take many shots there and enjoy them all.

  15. I found this a fun piece of art to interact with. I like your photos of it a lot.

  16. I have seen the bean on another bloggers site and I have to say, each time it is mesmerizing. I think it’s perfect you helped to hold it in place. The clarity in the reflections are incredible. Much love to you and Bill and family. Hugs.

  17. thirdeyemom says:

    Love this post Janet! I love the bean. I can’t remember if I told you but I lived in Chicago before I got married and my husband and I got married there in Lincoln Park. That was 16 years ago. I still miss Chicago a lot.

  18. joannesisco says:

    I love your photos. This is the kind of thing that could amuse me for quite a while!!

  19. Resa says: