What is Cloud Gate?

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Most if not all of us have been to Chicago and seen Cloud Gate. During the construction of the sculpture the media and public had nicknamed it “The Bean” due to the shape of the sculpture. Anish Kapoor the one who designed the sculpture found the nickname to be “completely stupid” and officially named it Cloud Gate.
In 1999, Millennium Park officials and a group of art collectors, curators and architects reviewed the works of 30 different artists and asked for two proposals. The committee chose the design by Anish Kapoor a highly praised international artist who has a reputation for creating spectacles in urban settings. A British engineering firm “Atelier One” and freelance engineer Chris Hornzee-Jone provided the sculptures structural design and Performance Structures Inc. was chosen to fabricate it because they are known to produce near invisible welds. Performance Structures Inc. had created a miniature model which was then selected by Kapoor to be used as the design of the final structure. PSI had originally planned on building the structure in Oakland California and ship to Chicago through the Panama Canal and St. Lawrence Seaway. Park officials shot down that plan and the decision was to have all the individual panels delivered by truck and assembled onsite. The Bean is made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together and its highly polished exterior has no visible seams. They were fabricated using three-dimensional modeling software. Inside The Bean are several steel structures that keep it standing. The Bean measures 33 by 66 by 42 feet and weights 110 short tons. To keep The Bean clean the lower 6 feet of it is wiped down twice a day by hand, while the entire sculpture is cleaned twice a year with 40 gallons of liquid detergent. Kapoor’s contract with Millennium Park officials states The Bean should be expected to last 1,000 years.
I have chosen to share this sculpture because I personally enjoy going to visit The Bean and walking under this enormous sculpture. I love how The Bean is interactive with you and allows you to be part of the art. The way it reflects the Chicago skyline and its surroundings is amazing. The Bean has become such an iconic work or art and is known all around the world. I think the elegant/sleek look design fits perfectly with Chicago and I personally cannot envision the sculpture being anywhere else in the world besides in the city of Chicago. If you have not visited “The Bean” it’s a must see.

Who has a picture of themselves with The Bean?
If you created the sculpture would you have kept the nickname “The Bean” or rename it like Kapoor did?
Should the British Engineering Firm and freelance engineer Chris Hornzee-Jones be credited for the sculpture too even though they only designed the structural portion?
Has anyone ever seen “The Bean” getting cleaned?
Do you think “The Bean” will last a 1,000 years?

Links to additional information about my blog:

Jake Ladick

Works Cited:
Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.
“3 Facts about Chicago’s Cloud Gate (that Surprised and Impressed Me) – Final Transit.” Final Transit 3 Facts about Chicagos Cloud Gate That Surprised and Impressed Me Comments. 27 Aug. 2012. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.


18 thoughts on “What is Cloud Gate?

  1. One of my favorite things to do when I go to Chicago is to go to Millennium Park and look at The Bean. As you said in your blog, I also like how the Chicago skyline is seen on the Bean and how it is interactive with those looking at it. I love how the image of yourself changes depending if your on the outside of the bean or directly underneath it. If I had created this sculptor I believe I would have kept the name “The Bean.” It is the name everyone knows this sculptor by. I’ve never seen it get cleaned before, but I do think it is going to last as long as they predicted.

  2. I saw The Bean a few years ago when I was downtown and stopped by just to say I saw it. I didn’t take any pictures because it just never crossed my mind to do so. I do like how interactive it is though. I can understand how the artist would be upset that their project that they worked so hard on ending up being nicknamed “The Bean” might be upsetting, but it’s hard to see it any other way. It’s a giant metal bean. I wouldn’t look at it and immediately say “Ahh it’s Cloud Gate” you can tell by the clouds….and the gates. I mean, it’s The Bean. He should have embraced the name I think. When it comes to something of this magnitude, I think everyone involved in it, be it from assembly, to designing, to everything else that happens with it, should receive credit. Never seen it getting cleaned. I don’t think there’s any chance it’ll last 1,000 years. Maybe on paper it could last that long, but between vandals, lack of upkeep, weather, and so on, who knows what that entire area will look like in in 50 years, let alone 1,000 years.

  3. I have seen the bean in person and Millennium Park is one of my favorite places to go when I have the chance to go into the city. Just like you said in your blog it is a piece that is very interactive with the audience. I like how the image of your body looks one way on the outside, but when your directly under it the image of your body looks different. I believe that they should have kept the name the bean because that is what everyone refers to it as. If you ask someone have you been to cloud gate, usually you get the look of I don’t know what your talking about. I have never seen the bean get cleaned in person, but I believe that it would be able to last for as long as they predicted.

  4. I have seen the bean and do have a picture with it. It is the bean and as more time goes by, the actual name will probably be only known to the people who stop to read it on the plaque. When there is a piece of art like this the artist should have conditions on his involvement. Something like; concept by or inspired by. I feel this because the artist doesn’t have the skills or knowledge to make it a reality. It was his concept but other people made it happen. I enjoy doing metalwork and know what went into this project. The people who welded and polished this sculpture did an mazing job. Barring any catastrophe or change in atmosphere, with proper cleaning, I think it will last far beyond 1000 years.

  5. I have been to the bean many times before. I think its safe to say that any resident of the Chicago-land area has been to the bean at least twice. The first time you go to see it for yourself and after that you find yourself taking any and all of your out of town friends and family to see the bean upon their first visit to Chicago. however, each time i go i see the bean, it seems different, depending on the time of day, weather and amount of people surrounding it. In my opinion, I think this is the most interesting aspect about the bean,

  6. This beam shaped mirror polished steel structure I highly recommend people to go see. Me & my family go out to millennium park every year in the summer time and take various pictures of the beam. You can get a better picture during a sunny day when the reflection is better from the beam when taking a picture. I love three dimensional art, but even more when people are able to touch and interact with the art. You can also see the reflection of the skyline on the beam. I do recommend for people to go see the Cloud Gates they would truly enjoy this work of art .

  7. When i first moved to Chicago all my Canadian friends used to ask me if i had gone to see the Bean. I had no idea what they were talking about until this summer when i went to the taste of Chicago festival. I got to see the bean, walk under it and take pictures with the bean and even took a video of me walking through it. I could not have imagined it being that big, up close it was enormous. I would have kept the name The Bean to be honest that name is more fitting for it. And plus nobody knows it by Cloud Gate. No matter how hard the artist has tried to name it Cloud Gate, the majority of the people call it The Bean. I would say it can last 1,000 years because it is stainless steel, so no way of rusting and it is round and steel so no fire can destroy it. There might be scratches and maybe even graffiti marks on it from year to year but constant cleaning should keep it tidy for a thousand years.

  8. I have seen the Bean, but did not have a picture taken by it. I think it is an amazing and beautiful structure, and I too like how you can see the city skyline in it. Until I read this article I didn’t even know its official name is Cloud Gate. I don’t see a cloud or a gate when I look at it, but I guess to each their own. I think the name “Bean” sounds a bit silly but that is exactly what people see when they look at this sculpture. It’s a giant bean, and the artist should just embrace that. Bean or cloud, it’s still a very famous piece and people enjoy it seeing it. I don’t think it will last 1,000 years…maybe 100.

  9. When people think of Chicago they either relate to the big buildings around them or either the pier and also the bean in millennium park. I do have a picture with the bean and i would say that nearly everyone that has visited it has done the exact same thing. The bean is such a distinct object it is hard to miss it when ever you are near it. I believe I would keep the name that it has too many people refer to it as the bean already so if you were to change it many wouldn’t know what you might be talking about. The bean should last a 1,000 years due to what it is made of and how it is constructed, there is nothing else in the world quite like the bean.

  10. Whenever i go to Chicago and visit millennium park i always have to stop and see the bean. I have a couple pictures of memories being at the bean. I would keep the name “the bean” because that was the name that stuck in moist peoiples heads. Cloud gate is a intresting name for this piece but i think the name stuck because of the resemblance thios stuctre has with a bean from a plant.This work of art is awesome because everyone has a different way they see this piece. I esspecially love how you can see the skyline within the structure. I have never seen the bean being cleaned but i would defiently like to see this in the future.

  11. The good old bean! The bean is the go to location for everyone who visits chicago. There is no one in Chicago that doesn’t know about this thing. But I have always wondered how big and heavy it was untill now. I would have never imagined that it was shipped by parts I thought it was just 1 piece that just fell from outer space haha. This piece is such “simple” design but people keep coming back to it over and over. Thumbs up to Anish Kapoor. Do you think they ever had to replace parts of it?

  12. I think the bean could last for 1000 years I know they put a lot into maintaining it since it’s such a important Chicago monument. I think the engineer should receive credit for the piece as well since he had such a large role in the overall piece. I have taken my picture there a few times it’s always a fun place to visit when down town.

  13. I think i have an old picture with me and my family by the bean.
    I personally like the name “the bean” i think it is a good reflection of the sculpture and is an easy nickname to use with people. But i also like cloud gate i think its a more elegant and professional name.
    Personally, i think anyone who contributed to the creation of this piece should be credited for their work, even if their work had to do with structure etc…
    I think it’s really interesting that the bean is cleaned twice a day, i’ve never seen it being cleaned but i would like to one day. Im guesing it’s early in the morning. I think it would be cool if the bean lasted 1000 years, why not? It seems to be professionally done and is a major attraction in chicago.

  14. I love going to see the bean i think i have a picture with my family there.
    I like the name the bean i think it is a good reflection of the work and i think its a fun name to use. I do also like the name cloud gate i think its more professional.
    I think anybody who contributed to the creation of this sculpture should be credited for it even it was just basic structural stuff.
    I have never seen the bean being cleaned but i think that would be pretty cool.
    And i think that with how the bean was structured and created it could definitely last 1000 years, why not? It’s a major part of Chicago.

  15. I have never visited the place, but thinking of visiting it because it does look so amazing! I would’ve renamed it because, the word bean does not justify the art work. I mean it looks like bean but if you look at it see the reflection of skyline and the sky its self so the name ” cloud gate” fits perfectly with the sculpture. I don’t think it would last that long because the materials obviously would need to be reconstructed because it will eventually would settle down as time goes by.

  16. Honestly this is one of the most fascinating sculptures to see and visit. Just being near it is amazing. A picture doesn’t do it justice, people should definitely visit it for themselves. I never knew it’s real name was Cloud Gate. I kinda understand why the artist wanted to rename the sculpture, maybe a sense of pride probably. The name bean is more of a nickname then anything else. Whats even more amazing is that it is suppose to last 1,000 years! I honestly wish to be there after a 1,000 to see what has become of it, that would truly be something. Hope it lasts forever 😛

  17. Unfortunately I do not have a picture of myself with the bean. If I had created this work of art, I would have probably renamed it like Kapoor did since I don’t believe a name such as “The Bean” is something people would take seriously. I think that anyone who aided in the creation of the bean should be credited for it. I have never seen the bean, or seen it getting cleaned. I would imagine it would last greater than 1000 years.

  18. I sincerely think that the name “the Bean” did not do it good. I have never seen it cleaned. I don’t think it would last 1000 years.. I don’t know what makes it so cool. I have pictures with it.

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