Cloud Gate creator Anish Kapoor returned to Chicago on Tuesday and laid eyes on his iconic sculpture for the first time since its installment over a decade ago.
The 110-ton sculpture has been the centerpiece of Millennium Park since its installment in 2006. Kapoor, based in London, marveled at his piece before being honored at the the Grant Park Music Festival’s sixth annual Advocate for the Arts Awards benefit.
“It’s emotional, strange for me coming back nearly 15 years after this object was first thought of,” Kapoor said Tuesday.
Kapoor said he found the piece mysterious, and had to give it a second look as new qualities reappeared to him. “What a strange, liquid, weird, almost not present yet fully present object,” he said.
Referring to the piece as a “public object with it’s own public life,” Kapoor said Cloud Gate belongs to the people of Chicago and all the city’s visitors. “I initiated it, other people made it.”
The artist said all those who have struck a pose in front of the bean made the piece so iconic. “Really it’s owned by all those brides, all those selfies,” said Kapoor, who said he was astounded to hear that an estimated 200 million visitors have come to see his creation.
When asked how he refers to the famous sculpture, he said that he has given in to the nickname given by Chicagoans, adding that the local nickname gives the sculpture “its own language.”
“When I’m trying to be serious, I call it Cloud Gate,” Kapoor said. “Otherwise, it’s The Bean.”