Thursday, March 29, 2007

That blue stuff is called 'sky'

Some folks have mentioned to me that they “don’t get” the Cloud Gate sculpture (aka “The Bean”) in Chicago’s Millennium Park. And frankly, I didn’t for a while myself, until I made a few visits to see my daughter who attends college downtown (or as the folks in the UK call it, “Uni.”).

When I’m in Chicago, I’m a gawker. I look at the buildings and take in all the variety and nuances of the architecture. I ponder the thin ribbon of sky beyond the tops of surrounding buildings. I’m well aware that the gawking sets me apart immediately as an interloper, and identifies me as an easy mark for the homeless guys seeking handouts, but oh well. Just about every native Chicagoan walks about with a level gaze. They all have somewhere to go and fast. They’ve seen the buildings. They’re jaded. I’ve even noticed it in my daughter after seven months of city residency. She walks like a native now and pokes fun at my “Gosh, would you look at that” approach to the city.

What artist Anish Kapoor wanted to do was to grab that thin slice of sky, enlarge it, reduce the buildings and place it all within the ground level field of view of Chicago’s population. Here’s what you’ve been missing, people. In the artist’s words:

What I wanted to do in Millennium Park is make something that would engage the Chicago skyline … so that one will see the clouds kind of floating in, with those very tall buildings reflected in the work. And then, since it is in the form of a gate, the participant, the viewer, will be able to enter into this very deep chamber that does, in a way, the same thing to one's reflection as the exterior of the piece is doing to the reflection of the city around.

Works for me.

And it will probably work for the North America Photobloggers, who will meet at "The Bean" at 11:00 a.m. on April 28. Some of my favorite photographers will be there. Can't wait to meet them.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.


Hillary said...

Fantastic shot! That is one cool sculpture. Unfortunately it was surrounded by hoards of people (St Patty's Day) the first day I was there, then foggy and drizzle the next, so no cool shots for me. I'll jsut enjoy yours! :)

James said...

Hello, Hillary!
I'm sure you discovered that spring weather in Chicago is unpredictable. You'll also notice that I shot the top part of the sculpture - that was due to the crowds that were there when I took thie shot.

Sheila said...

Thanks James for including the artist's explanation. We visited the Bean last summer and thought it was pretty cool. Every time I visit the city I love looking at the tall buildings even if it identifies me as a tourist.