Today, Chicago was hit with the disheartening news that their amazing and semi-virginal “Cloud Gate” has been maimed. The majority of the population will know Cloud Gate as “The Bean” in Millennium Park. And here is a brief history of The Bean and how it came about.
The Bean was constructed about 4 years ago by British artist Anish Kapoor after he won a design contest held by the city in search of a local piece of art. Anish made The Bean out of 168 stainless steel plates that reflect sides of the Chicago skyline. No offense to NYC, but Chicago’s skyline is amazing and stretches over 20 miles (believe me, because I walked 20 miles of it for the AFSP Overnight Event in 2006). And I’ve been to NYC to see the skyline. So, I find myself able to make such a statement.
The last two stages of the construction included an intense buffing of the steel plates as well as polishing which left Cloud Gate the shiniest philly the Midwest had ever seen. Interestingly enough, The Bean was constructed based on private donations only without any public finance. Which is probably a good thing considering the final bill for this art was estimated at $23 million, shockingly escalated compared to the initial estimate of only $6 million. HOLY CRICKEY!
While driving to work this morning and listening to WGN Radio for traffic updates, I heard the funniest piece of reporting and commentary between John Williams and whoever he was talking to about the story. For this story, we’ll call him Sean Connery. And here is my attempt to recreate (with a twist of Meridith in there):
JW: So, Sean, what’s this about the Bean being vandalized last night?
SC: Yeah, John, it’s a sad story of th…
JW: (interrupting) Wouldn’t you think it would be too cold for someone to be doing that. Ha!
SC: Yeah, it was cold but don’t think it took them that long. Cloud Gate, or as most of you may know it as The Bean, has been vandalized. Peter S decided he wanted to go down in history as the first person to etch-a-sketch his name into the shiny silvery belly of The Bean. Well, I guess it could be Peter 5 but I think it’s probably an “s” to symbolize the initial of his last name. Maybe he’s a mathematician! *giggle*
JW: Oh wow, could you imagine the police searching the Cook County database with all people named Peter S? Could take YEARS to find that guy. *chuckles at his stupid attempt at humor*
SC: *confused silence*
JW: (going into recovery mode) Well, how big is the name? I mean can you see it? I wonder if they will try to buff it out or something. The Bean is so SHINY! It just is tragic that this happened. But I mean it’s been four years. So, I guess it was clean that long.
SC: You’ve got a point there, John. The Bean has been so loved by the city and all who come through Chicago that I think it demanded respect until last night. I don’t know exactly about getting the name buffed out but yeah…you can definitely see it. Looks like Peter used a pencil or a pen or a nail or something sharp.
JW: Yeah, it’d have to be sharp to get etched into that steel. Well, how big is it?
SC: It was small compared to the entire size of The Bean being so big. But I’d say it’s a pretty decent size…you know…about 3 inches. (pause)
JW: (pauses because they’re both thinking the same perverted joke that’s not allowed by radio regulations)
JW: Yeah, that’s a pretty big scratch. Big enough to see.
And THAT’s where I had to laugh out loud and change the channel back to B96. I heard an update on The Bean on WGN Radio while driving to and from appointments. Looks like Peter S. (or possibly Peter 5 as the WGN Radio reporter so observantly found) was with another person who also scratched his/her name into The Bean. However, due to the illegible nature of the name, it cannot be read. Hence, that person matters none whatsoever to this story or forever in history. Sorry! Should have learned to write. Then you’d be as popular as Peter 5…I mean Peter S!! Damn it! I’m already forgetting his name.
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