Even though the sculpture by British sculptor,Anish Kappor, called "Cloud Nine" took more than a year to add the "polished look", it is a big success, especially with the public. It's a photographer's playground. They had to weld and polish it in the fall once the weather turned cold so that they did not have to close it to the hordes of tourists during the summer months. (2006: it's DONE)
"Cloud Nine" is made of stainless steel and has a very simple form, but its size is gigantic (66 feet long, 33 feet high, and 42 feet wide).
Most people feel that it looks like a bean; thus, its popular name is shortened to "Bean Sculpture". It is kidney-shaped and created with 168 stainless steel plates that are pieced together and welded shut.
When I saw it and walked under its arch (gate), I felt as though I were at a circus in the House of Mirrors because of the distortion of objects that results from its curved shape. I especially enjoyed seeing skyscrapers and the skyline of Chicago in "Cloud Nine". The most weird photos come when you are under the gate ( a 12-foot-high concave area underneath the sculpture) looking up. (I will place photos in a travelogue to show you all the strange distortions at different locations.)
Most people do not realize that "Cloud Gate" is located on SBC Plaza which is named after SBC Corporation who donated three million dollars.
Don't miss this wonderful "house of mirrors" called 'Cloud Gate' ; you'll relish the experience.
Cloud Gate, or "the Bean" as it has been affectionately dubbed by locals, has quickly become one of the most popular, and most photographed, sights in all Chicago. Designed by British artist Anish Kapoor, it is over 100 tons of stainless steel, polished and shaped into a giant fun-house mirror. Its reflections are both weird, and incredible, and occasionally disorienting and disconcerting.
There are two photographic highlights: the outer shell, and the "omphalos" underneath. Outside gives great reflective shots of the buildings along Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street, including the gigantic Aon Center. The "omphalos" creates a sensation of looking into something much deeper and bigger than it really is. The distorted reflections upon distorted reflection creates illusionary tunnels inside the sculpture.
It has to be seen to be believed.
I never even knew this thing was called ‘Cloud Gate.’ Everyone I have ever heard talk about it calls it ‘The Bean.” Whatever you call it is really fascinating. People are just attracted to it. They slowly pace around it watching the reflections change and play games with the eye. I think there is something profoundly introspective about the sculpture. It is, after all, like a mirror that skews the refection just enough to make the mind question. What does it all mean? Go inside of the gate for really wild visual. It is like a kaleidoscope of humanity.
The 24.5-acre park features the work of world-renowned architects, planners, artists and designers. It is an amazing place to be with it's mind blowing and visually stunning artwork. It lures in millions of visitors annually and has got to be one of the 'must see' places on your list when visiting Chicago. Safe and always inhabited by locals and tourists alike, local policemen can be seen riding about on their Segways...this is a park way ahead of our time.
I'm not much into modern art, but I thought Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor (who is British-based, by the way) was absolutely magnificent.
Not only for its wonderful reflections of the Chicago skyline and the sky itself, but also for people-watching purposes. It was fascinating to see how people reacted to the artwork, how much they enjoyed seeing themselves reflected in the oddest of ways, how many photographs were being taken....
You'll find it Millennium Park, right by Michigan Avenue. and I bet you too won't be able to resist looking at your own reflection from various positions, and I bet you too won't be able to resist taking several photographs of yourself, other people and the architectural reflections! :-)
A superb piece of work. I wish London had it.
The Millenium Park is in the city heart of Chicago and easy to find since it is a very huge area. I didn't walk around that much but we went to see the most famous Cloud Gate sculpture which look more like a bun than a Cloud. This is a must see.
I really didn't expect much of the famous new sculpture in Millennium Park. There is, after all, only so much that can be done with a giant stainless steel kidney bean, right?
The fact is that there are some very interesting effects and illusions created by the odd shape of the reflective surface. Two items I found especially interesting were:
1. The way the shape of the surface makes the viewer nearly completely vanish into the background, so long as they are standing just a little way away from the sculpture. As an example, see photo 1: I'm not that far away and yet am not visible at all really in the reflection.
2. There is an odd toroidal appearance to the inside when viewed from the sides. This is completely an optical illusion. This effect is somewhat visible in photo 2. Also, those two people are not me but reflections from a somewhat different direction.
Perhaps somewhat disappointing is the placement of the pillars for the structure above the nearby ampitheatre, which obstructs the view of the sculpture with the nearby skyline in the background (see photo 3).
Either way, the sculpture must be seen in person to really be appreciated, and is well worth the several minutes it takes to walk there from the "Loop". Even if you hate modern artworks it really takes no time at all to get here from downtown so even if you regard it as a waste of time there hasn't been much time wasted - but chances are you will not regard it as a waste of time once you have seen it in person.
I haven't been doing a lot of traveling lately (as of March, 2013) and although I still have plenty of tips to write about trips over the years I've decided to go through the Chicago categories and see what other tips I can write to go along with my pictures of Chicago.
My wife and I live in a suburb of Chicago about 30 miles southwest of the city and so it is not just a hop, skip and jump to get here all that often. However, we have been spending more time actually in the city of Chicago the last few years for a couple of reasons. 1) our 2 oldest sons both live in the city and just recently our niece and nephew-in-law moved back from Pittsburgh and just had a baby making us a grand Aunt and Uncle. 2) I've had a couple of small consulting assignments that have brought me into the city and 3) I've joined a Chicago Street Photography Group and we have periodic meetups in the city.
Anyway, I thought I would add this tip on the "Chicago Bean". I won't go into a lot of detail, as others have written about the history, etc., but I will give a couple of my impressions as a Chicago native.
This is my favorite Chicago attraction to take people to when they visit Chicago. It is very much like an ever changing post card of Chicago, its people and skyline. It will vary from day to day depending on the weather. I've been here in the rain and have seen some great pictures of the snow on the bean (which I haven't gotten yet). People will act like kids around this and the fountains nearby. Artists will take pictures, draw pictures and study the bean. At night you can see the beautiful well lit Chicago buildings surrounding the Bean.
Anyway, here are a few of my photos that I have taken of the Bean over the past couple of years. Enjoy!
Located in the middle of SBC Plaza in Millenium Park is a huge elliptical globular structure resembling a drop of mercury. This is the Cloud Gate, designed by British artist Anish Kapoor's. The 110-ton elliptical sculpture is forged of a seamless series of highly polished stainless steel plates, which reflect the city's famous skyline and the clouds above. A 12-foot-high arch provides a "gate" to the concave chamber beneath the sculpture, inviting visitors to touch its mirror-like surface and see their image reflected back from a variety of perspectives. Inspired by liquid mercury, the sculpture is among the largest of its kind in the world, measuring 66-feet long by 33-feet high.
The weather was pretty hot and the Crown fountain entertained as it cooled us down. The people projected on the glass tiles change so you can hang out for awhile and check it out. It is fascinating to watch the crowds reaction, especially the small kids. Have a seat on one of the benches or be brave and get a shower!
The Cloud Gate was being restored but there were sections available to marvel at. It was pretty cool to see the people inside the scaffolding too. People asked them questions about the process so it was very educational. I hope to return and see it unveiled.
The garden was my favorite part. I could see myself going there to read and meditate if I lived in the city. The ornamental grasses swayed against the city. Sprinklers gently cooled my skin as I passed by. This is a remarkable. park.