Shining Chicago Views

The reflective surface of Cloud Gate dishes out amazing perspectives.

Paris has the Eiffel Tower. New York, the Statue of Liberty. In Chicago, it’s Cloud Gate, a 110-ton sculpture by British artist Anish Kapoor, named for the clouds that reflect on the surface. Locals call it “The Bean” for its elliptical shape.

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The public art installation, meant to be unveiled during the grand opening of Millennium Park ten years ago, had what one might call a giant hitch. Given its size — 66 feet long, 42 feet wide, and 33 feet high — it took an additional two years to fabricate the 168 stainless steel plates.

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There may be more famous Chicago landmarks, but this one is so well loved that it requires two yearly scrub-downs to remove admirers’ fingerprint smudges. Visitors like to touch it and photograph the mirrored skyline, getting creative with poses and props. It seems Kapoor achieved his vision of a sculpture people could interact with.

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