Cloud Gate is a public sculpture by Indian-born British sculptor Anish Kapoor in Millennium Park, Chicago. The sculpture is shaped like an ellipse, and its legume-like appearance has caused it to be nicknamed “The Bean”.
It is made of 168 highly polished stainless steel plates, and stands at 33 feet high, 66 feet long, and 42 feet wide, weighing 110 tons. From a distance it could be mistaken for a huge drop of mercury, while up close its highly reflective surface captures and transforms the skyline, the downtown cityscape, and even the passersby into a wonderfully warped new vista. The artist, Anish Kapoor, has referred to the sculpture as “a gate to Chicago, a poetic idea about the city it reflects.” To me it looked like a giant fish-eye lens that captures and ironically distorts the city’s wonderfully elegant architecture.
It was 5:15 am on a Sunday that I found myself standing in awe in front of Cloud Gate waiting for the sun to rise. The colors of dawn in the sky and its reflection on the Bean momentarily altered my consciousness and I was fantasizing about being the first human to have landed in an alien world. However, my short-lived fantasy was broken by a couple of photographers who walked into my field of view and I suddenly realized I had to press the shutter.
As the day progressed, I started moving around the Bean trying my best to capture its beauty.
The photo below is of the 12-foot underbelly called the “omphalos” or navel and multiplies reflections in a vortex.
Later in the day, I had lots of fun taking random snapshots of the Bean with me and my family posing with our distorted reflections. Those I think are my favorites. They remind me that life is not just about creating beautiful art but also about appreciating it and having lots of fun in the process.