Sweet Home Chicago: The Bean

Art in Chicago: The Bean?

Cloud Gate at Millennium Park, Chicago

I just returned from a visit to the Chicago area where I was born and lived for many years. I still have a strong attachment to the city and visit frequently. Although much of my bond is based upon my personal experiences and having close relatives and friends in the area, I also appreciate the reasons why people from all over the world enjoy visiting Chicago. Historic sites, diverse neighborhoods, parks, architecture, culture and entertainment are just some of the things that make it a great city.

This photo was taken a few years ago at Millennium Park. There’s always something going on at the park such as festivals, concerts, exhibits and special events. The sculpture, “Cloud Gate”, was created by Anish Kapoor and is nicknamed “The Bean”. The photo below was taken from underneath the sculpture, looking up.

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48 thoughts on “Sweet Home Chicago: The Bean

  1. Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista

    It is interesting what is called “sculpture”! I like it though. It looks like a blog of mercury 🙂 It is always nice to go home.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Thanks, Nancie. Kapoor has done other unique sculptures that I’ve seen photos of — in London, I think.

  2. Jeremy B

    That’s a great photo! I love the reflection. The last time I went to Chicago it was in the 80s. Had a good time there but I am sure a lot has changed since I last visited.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Glad you like it, Jeremy. You should definitely get back to Chicago. It has changed a lot, but still has a great Chicago spirit!

  3. Andrea

    I didn’t know you were from Chicago originally, Cathy! My father’s side of the family live there and I have spent heaps of time in the city. Such a great place. Last time we visited we finally took one of those architecture boat cruises, which I highly recommend to any visitor. Maybe one day we’ll be there at the same time =)

    1. Cathy Post author

      Would love to meet up with you guys in Chicago sometime — keep me posted on your travels 🙂 Yes, the architecture tour is awesome — probably the best tour of its kind that I’ve been on.

  4. david

    Chicago has a lot of great public art, but we love our “Bean” the most! I’ve read that Anish Kapoor welcomed the fact that the city’s residents gave it that nickname too.

    Andrea is right, visitors who come to Chicago during the warmer months should definitely check out the Chicago Architectural Foundation’s boat tours. The views of the city from the Chicago River are unique and the docents on the boats are extremely informative. I’ve learned a lot about my hometown by doing the tour with visiting relatives.

    Thanks for the great shot Catherine!

    1. Cathy Post author

      I’m so glad to hear that Kapoor liked the nickname — I wondered about that. I love the Bean. I think that Millennium Park is a very cool place to hang out. Glad that you and Andrea (comment above) mentioned the architecture boat tour — it’s wonderful! I took it a few years ago and want to take it again this summer. Big Chicago fan here!

    1. Cathy Post author

      I really like the photo from underneath, too. I once let a fellow blogger use one of those shots in a mystery photo contest — it was very challenging!

  5. Mark Wiens

    It’s been many years since I visited Chicago, but I hope I can get there to visit some friends in the future. That warped reflection could be looked at for days!

    1. Cathy Post author

      Hope you get to Chicago soon, Mark. I think you’d find lots of great food to try there, too! 🙂 — I know what you mean about the reflection – I notice different things every time I look at it and other “bean” photos I’ve got.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Yeah – you guys were having some cold weather last week when I visited. It really felt more like January than May! But I loved all the blossoms on the trees and the tulips that were in bloom. Summer’s coming soon!

  6. jade

    Another travel blogging friend just returned from her first time in chicago and had a blast- can’t wait to get up there myself and see what this amazing city has to offer!

    1. Cathy Post author

      You’ll love it, Jade! I’m already looking forward to my next trip there, even though I just got back from there.

    1. Cathy Post author

      It was a beautiful day indeed! I guess I’m hidden because of the angle of the shot – but thanks for trying to find me! 🙂

  7. The Dropout

    What a great photo.
    Public art seems to be quite controversial, attractiing all sorts of nicknames. I remember a German taxi driver telling me the nicknames of some of Berlin’s sculptures and monuments. His commentary was hilarious!

    1. Cathy Post author

      Thanks so much! David (a commenter above) mentioned that Kapoor liked the nickname given to his sculpture — I was glad to hear that. Chicagoans love the Bean!

  8. Abby

    Great photo! There’s nothing quite like photography or a travel blogger to make you see the world in a different way. Always great to hear from people who love Chicago. People there seem so nice! I went once in April and whoa found a new respect for people who can handle that wind! Now I go only in the summer. I know, I’m a wuss.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Thank you Abby! I’m so glad that the photo gave you a new look at a place. Chicago’s a great place to visit in the summer — even when it’s hot and humid!

    1. Cathy Post author

      Thanks, Scott. That would actually be a very interesting challenge to get a photo of the Bean sans people. I’ll have to try that next time. But early morning isn’t a good time for me, either.

  9. Turkey's For Life

    Anish Kapoor is one clever chap. I love this sculpture. It’d be great if there were more things like this here in Turkey. It’s just fun when creations like this stop you in your tracks and force you to look at them.

    1. Cathy Post author

      You said it exactly right — this sculpture did stop me in my tracks when I first saw it! And I keep going back to see it every time I’m in town.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Thanks, Christy! Not only is the Cloud Gate sculpture very cool, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park is unique and beautiful. Yes, go to Chicago sometime — there’s a lot to see and do all over that wonderful city!

  10. robin

    The “bean” features in Source Code which I just saw!

    Would love to see Chicago – it should be twinned with Tarifa as they’re both windy cities…

  11. Leigh

    I’ve been to Chicago but not in years. What a cool look sculpture and a super photograph.What a great way to brighten up the city on a dull day too.

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