The Bean’s Gleam (and How It Got It)

In a column in the August 24 Arts and Leisure section of The New York Times, Roberta Smith discussed the current resurgence in public art, specifically sculpture.

Ms Smith said that while there was more of this type of art being created, not all of it is good. On the positive side, she did place Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate piece in Millennium Park in Chicago. Nicknamed the Bean, it has captured the fancy of the public and is now considered one of the city’s prime tourist attractions.


Praised for its highly polished architectural metal surface, the piece was the subject of a cover article in the April 2007 issue of the Architects’ Guide to Glass and Metal. It explained the intricacies of constructing that giant, polished metal gem.

It takes nothing from the creativity of Mr. Kapoor to focus on the creativity of the Bean’s glazing contractor in solving the myriad technical issues that were faced in bringing his conception to fruitation.

For MTH Industries, the Chicago-based 120-year-old glass and architectural metal contractor that installed the sculpture, the project was a totally unique, two-year-long experience.

If you missed the article, or would like to see it again, send me an email and I’d be happy to send a copy of it over to you. It’s a very interesting project, and the article provides additional interesting insight into its construction.