Art of the Day: CLOUD GATE by Anish Kapoor

Submitted by Evelyn Kiefer on Mon, 07/10/2006 - 23:16.


I spent the past weekend in Chicago -- a city that is in many ways a more fun place to be than Cleveland. One of the reasons why: public art like this! Most people who know it just call it "THE BEAN" but this sculpture is actually titled CLOUD GATE (a much more elegant name). CLOUD GATE is located in Millennium Park, a beautiful formal garden along Michigan Avenue completed a few years late for the celebrations of 2000. On a July Sunday around noon the park was filled with 100s of people out enjoying the warm sunny weather and at least 100 or more of them were constantly gathered around "THE BEAN"staring with wonder . Not surprising at all because this sculpture is absolutely amazing! One of the best things about  CLOUD GATE is how people interact with it. Just walk too close and suddenly you become part of the sculpture. Once you see your reflection you are hooked! Go inside, stand under the arch and look up -- wow! Meer words can't describe the experience! More photos and insight here...




The following information about CLOUD GATE is found on this website.  Cloud Gate is British artist Anish Kapoor's first public outdoor work installed in the United States. 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. Cloud Gate sits upon the At&T Plaza, which was made possible by a gift from AT&T. 

What I wanted to do in Millennium Park is make something that would engage the Chicago skyline…so that one will see the clouds kind of floating in, with those very tall buildings reflected in the work. And then, since it is in the form of a gate, the participant, the viewer, will be able to enter into this very deep chamber that does, in a way, the same thing to one's reflection as the exterior of the piece is doing to the reflection of the city around.
-Anish Kapoor


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What great photos and a trippy sculpture

I saw this sculpture in a photo of Chicago and this is a unique work of art. I think of a bicycle helmet, but "Bean" certainly fits.

I'm especially interested that at any random moment 100s of people hang out by this downtown Chicago sculpture, whereas you said in the suburbs of Chicago, at the Frank Lloyd Houses you visited, there were a only a few visitors. I'd say that offers proof for Cleveland that the arts are for places where people want to congregate for arts and culture, which is not in the suburbs. It is thus worth considering how many people enjoy the clearly spectacular Frank Lloyd Wright house tours per year vs. are touched by this wild public sculpture at Chicago's cultural core, and we should spend our money on arts in Cleveland to follow the leader.

While you're talking Chicago, how about sharing insight on the ecological footprint in Chicago created by our former "sustainability czar", recruited there from Cleveland by Chicago Mayor Daley, Sadhu Aufochs Johnston, Assistant to the Mayor for Green Initiatives... AKA the Green Guru.

I visited millenium park

I visited millenium park during it's grand opening two summers ago and it's a great people watching spot!

the big jelly bean is very interactive and sets a high bar for public art - it should all be so engaging!

in regards to norm's post as well as the obvious links between public art and quality of life/sense of place, what do you see as the relationship between economic development & quality of life?  which is the cart and which is the horse?

we can certainly one-up chicago with a more community approach to public art - art built by a community. im thinking strawbale construction  it might be a many hands make light work, low cost approach to public art, that to my knowledge has yet to be attempted on a large scale.

gosh, can we do it?  what's holding us back?

Two arts economy development suggestions...

Thanks John. I have suggestions.

  1. First, let's rally behind a standing artist who has shown her giving commitment to this community - Rafala Green - whose labyrinths are absolutely magical! She works with donated materials and volunteers from the St. Clair Superior neighborhood of Hodge School to provide a spiritual connecting place for all the community and she should be supported to greatly expand that initiative all over NEO - you can even put them in the suburbs, so long as the spirituality is not lost. I'm working on getting her set to do one by the East Cleveland Public Library in East Cleveland but many sites would be valuable - one downtown would be powerful... perhaps that is a good use for some of the space plotted for retail on Public Square, and for the Flats Condo tract, and Whiskey Island, to throw out a few sites in play.
  2. Second, help put together a list of people in this community and outside the community who should lead the arts and cultural focus for the future - is this the job just for Tom Schorgl, at great expense, or should a committee of 21 arts, social and business leaders be assembled, from the real arts community for the community. I'll nominate a few folks I think would be good choices, right here:
    1. Bridget Ginley - the sparkplug artist and unabashed gallery progenitor who was behind Buzz and now leads Art in the Village @ 5700 - we need such frank honesty, entrepreneurship and activism from the artist community
    2. Rafala Green - more free form sculptural and Shaman - enough said above and at this link!
    3. Bernadette Gilotta, co-founder of Independent Pictures, who has been pushing the real side of the film industry here for over a decade
    4. Derek Hess, if he has the time... read why here
    5. Someone from the Pollock Krasner Foundation, to help us do the same here
    6. Aggie Gund
    7. Peter Lewis
    8. Marjorie Talalay, who blends leadership from establishing the New Gallery, which has morphed into MoCA, with a passion for dance now expressed through support of groundworks dance... 
    9. 9 - 21... who has suggestions?

More on the need for this committee, it's model from New York, NY, and why Aggie, Peter and Marjorie are appropriate, read realneo here.

If you have thoughts on this concept or suggestions, add them here as a reply.

Disrupt IT


Another viewpoint about this sculpture and park here:


I wonder if he created the great egg in London that attracted people to look into the mini-dioramas inside?  Now, I 've got to order a book on Anish Kapoor!!!  Thanks Evelyn.  Norm--can you embed a library search box into your site ( probably makes the most sense)?  By the way, did you know you can get to Chicago for $15.00 on the MEGABUS!?!  Check it out. 

Will work on adding worldcat

Worldcat looks cool - if you recommend it we will see how to add it to realneo and other community portals we are working on these days - THANKS!

Disrupt IT

why does my library card not work

resident library expert... I used to visit the CPL databases regularly, but for the past several months my card and pin don't work. Do you know what's up with that? Do I have overdue books that I don't know about or what? I have been known to forget... I know that it was a book mistakenly lost amongst my belongings that had to be hunted down so that I could graduate from college. Would this be why I can't use my card anymore?


Fines over $10.00 and overdue books (sorry Susan--exposing you!!) will result in a suspension of your ability to order books online.  However, it should not prohibit you from visiting/accessing the databases.  Call me at work 216-623-6920 and I will walk through the problem to determine the issue.   Back at work on Thursday 12:30-8:00 p.m.  Now, does CCPL restrict book ordering with fines??  Good question.  I will work on it.  Try accessing CCPL's Find Engine and OPLIN for other doors to information :