DOWNTOWN — It’s been more than 10 years since “Cloud Gate,” aka “The Bean,” was “birthed,” as one official said at the time.
The sculpture wasn’t yet finished when a huge tent that had shrouded it was removed in late August 2005. But the public got a good look after what Millennium Park Vice President Henry Kleeman described as “a long labor.”
“The Bean” sparked controversy when artist Anish Kapoor’s design was selected, as some believed it would be impossible to make or difficult to maintain. But the sculpture has become famous around the world (and inspired an imitation in China), with people flocking to “the Eiffel Tower of Chicago” to admire the 110-ton piece and take photos.
The stainless steel skin hides an internal skeleton with flexible connectors that allow it to expand and contract in Chicago’s extreme weather. Thirty-three feet high, 42 feet wide and 66 feet long, its cost was a reported $23 million.
We recently came across a number of photos posted by the Chicago Public Library detailing its construction. They’re pretty cool! Take a look:
“The Bean” was temporarily closed while the steel plates had their welded edges ground down to give the sculpture its seamless look. It was dedicated in 2006 and became a world-famous landmark and hot spot for selfies and photography.