Getting to Know Chicago’s Famous Bean

By David R. Wheeler, Editor

Since 2006, tourists have flocked to Chicago’s Millennium Park to view a lovably unusual sculpture: a giant metal bean.

The photogenic bean — the background of innumerable tourist selfies — is officially called Cloud Gate.

But let’s face it: “the bean” is more fun.

As my colleague and I got into a taxi to see the attraction, I simply said, “Take us to the bean.”

Sculpted by British artist Anish Kapoor, the bean is the centerpiece of AT&T Plaza at Millennium Park. It’s composed of 168 stainless steel plates welded together, and it has a highly polished exterior that doubles as a fun-house mirror for tourists.

Inspired by liquid mercury, the bean has taken on a life of its own, generating thousands of memes on the internet.

In short, the bean is anything (and everything) you want it to be.

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