I’m going to go all out of order on the Chicago weekend—no, YOU’RE out of order!—but I plan on writing about it all.
One of the things we had not planned on was seeing the Bean. If you aren’t familiar with this particular work of art, is it a large sculpture in Millennium Park. We were excited to realize that it was right next to the Art Institute, which was our Sunday afternoon destination.
We had all seen plenty of pictures of this unusual Chicago art piece, but none of us had seen it in person yet. It was even more fun to see it up close and personal! It is quite large, and the polished surface is a mirror for all those who are observing. On a sunny Sunday afternoon, there were tourists from everywhere swarming around the Bean, taking pictures of it, and taking their own pictures in the reflection. We joined in, of course!
The real name of the sculpture is Cloud Gate, and it is by the British artist Anish Kapoor. Its shape led to the obvious nickname “The Bean.”
What I loved about this is that it is somewhat a participatory art piece. The structure stands on its own, but what really makes it “pop” is the way the viewers react to it. The artist really got this aspect of the piece right...the reaction is as much of a part of the art as is the art itself!
I really noticed that when we stepped underneath the Bean. It is arched, and there is a small walkway below the arch, and people can crowd in there. Because of the mirrored arch, you see people in a wedge, heading into the tunnel of the Bean. It’s hard to explain, but we were all up in there and looking overhead at our reflection. We had become a part of the art. Our reflection made the Bean something more than just a mirrored, kidney-shaped structure. Our presence brought something to the piece that it didn’t have on its own.
I felt the same way about Cadillac Ranch on Route 66. The observers become part of the art. I love that sort of art installation and sculpture. Visitors are encouraged to add their mark on Cadillac Ranch with spray paint; visitors to the Bean document their presence with pictures taken in the reflection of the large structure, and the photos are all over the Interwebz!
I love the picture of my reflection taking a picture of Ken resting his head on mine, and my sister leaning over and looking at us!
More Chicago stuff to come!