“the most opportune space for a selfie”
Cloud Gate, a public sculpture by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor, is the centerpiece of the AT&T Plaza in Millennium Park within the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois, United States. The sculpture and AT&T Plaza are located on top of Park Grill, between the Chase Promenade and McCormick Tribune Plaza & Ice Rink. Constructed between 2004 and 2006, the sculpture is nicknamed "The Bean" because of its bean-like shape. 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 (10 by 20 by 13 m), and weighs 110 short tons (100 t; 98 long 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 (3.7 m) 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 themes, 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.
It looks like a giant silver lima bean... in an awesome way, of course! You cannot visit Chicago without taking your picture in front of it, but you're going to have to fight your way through the crowds of tourists who are ALWAYS there. Regardless, you still have to do it, because it's a Chicago staple!
Didn't really understood this thing until I saw it in person. At first it just seemed like a big shiny bean. But when I got close, I realized how reflective it really is and the strange presence it has and was intrigued by all the different ways it warps space. I recommend standing directly under it and looking up and seeing if you can make sense of what you're seeing!
This thing is intimidating in the best way. Like Dave said, it almost looks like that ship from "Flight of the Navigator", and it's hard to appreciate the sheer size of this thing unless you see it in person. There's a reason it's become a symbol of Chicago.
When you visit, here's something to reflect on: how the hell does it stay so buffed and shiny?
A marvelous piece of art! Great reflections of the city's hazard and skyline!
Quite playful when you look from below. Just try to find yourself in between the massive pack of people coming to visit.
This sculpture is a landmark for Chicago and you shall not miss getting there. People from all over the world are attracted to it and it is normal as the structure itself is an eye candy.
Quite perplexing. Like a giant glob of liquid mercury (the artist's inspiration).
I saw "The Bean" in a million pictures so I always avoided it whenever I was in Chicago because it looked like a giant shiny tourist trap. Last year I finally relented and decided to see it for myself. While I still agree that it's a giant reflective tourist trap, it's pretty amazing. The crowd, especially on the weekend, is pretty crazy. It's almost guaranteed that you will get other people in your photos.
Pictures of The Bean look great, regardless of angle. However, if you show up at sunrise and face East, you'll get a badass shot of the Bean with the sun rising behind the sculpture.
This thing is an artistic feat, not a seam to be found. It's one of the real marvels of Chicago. Downside is you'll have to wade through a crowd of other tourists leaning on it and being all "OHMYGOD TAKE MY PICTURE, LOOK IT'S LIKE A GIANT *MIRROR*!"
And that gets pretty old pretty fast.
What would a trip to Chicago be if you didn't get to post an instagram picture of you and your friends in front of the great shiny bean! Still it's pretty damn cool and the rest of the park has lots to see and explore. Totally worth the quick stop.
From a distance, it looks like an alien space ship has landed in Millennium Park. When you get closer, it looks like the aliens have done some sort of mind control on all the tourists as they all stand around it motionless. When you're next to it, you realize all the tourists are merely taking selfies against it's reflective surface. Science Fiction potential aside, it's something you need to see at least once before it takes off into outer space again.
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