Houston’s Getting Its Own Bean – And Chicago Isn’t Happy About It

Mar 29, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Go to Chicago, take a photo with the massive silver Bean that lives in Millennium Park: It’s what you do. Except now, you can go to Houston and do the same thing.

Anish Kapoor is the sculptor behind Houston’s newest art installation, as well as creator of the original in Chicago. Formally named Cloud Gate, Kapoor’s Chicago design was the result of a design competition and formally dedicated to the city on May 15, 2006.

The Houston sculpture, formally named Cloud Column, shares much of the same design inspiration as the Chicago Bean. But the art piece features distinct differences: The Washington Post‘s Meagan Flynn described it as being “shaped less like a bean, really, and more like an elongated egg, reminiscent of the alien spaceship from the movie ‘Arrival.'”

The 21,000-pound sculpture arrived in the city’s Museum District amid much fanfare on Monday, March 26, and was formally escorted into its new home by a six-ton crane as well as a host of workers. The seamless metal piece now lives in a new plaza near the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

But the biggest hype thus far around the Texas mega-city’s newest art piece stems from the city of Chicago’s overt resentment of the “copycat” piece that “is destined to become a most Instagrammed spot in Houston” as well, to quote ABC7 Chicago.

(Photo by @nei.cruz via Twenty20)
Is Houston’s bean better then Chicago’s? (Photo by @nei.cruz via Twenty20)

Chicago Tribune reporter Kim Janssen threw down the gauntlet Tuesday, March 27, with a scathing op-ed entitled, “Unoriginal 4th place Houston gets its own bean sculpture … whatever.”

“Houston’s version of The Bean differs in one respect from Chicago’s: The uptight Texas bean is designed to stand upright, not lie on its side like the chill Illinois bean,” Janssen said. “If being surrounded by a cultureless abyss insufficiently communicates to confused tourists that they are in Houston, the bean’s verticality will therefore act as an additional reminder of their poor life choices.”

Everything is bigger in Texas, including tempers: Houston Chronicle digital editor Lisa Gray wrote an equally vitriolic email to Janssen in response, which led to a war of wits which eventually was published by the Texas newspaper.

Gray’s message begins: “Dear Chicago: Houston’s Bean is better. And so is Houston,” and questions a possible source of insecurity behind Janssen’s shade. Quoting from his original column, Janssen wrote: “Speaking of life choices, an increasing number of people are making Houston their home: the metro area gained 94,417 residents in 2017, while the Chicago metro area lost 13,286 residents. If that trend continues, Houston could eclipse Chicago as the nation’s third largest city in the next 10 years.”

But David Williams, Kapoor’s sculpture fabricator and collaborator for the past three decades, had the final say. Although Houston’s Cloud Column was only recently acquired by the city, the structure was actually the first one created and assembled entirely by hand in London, with Kapoor personally directing its production in person.

“This was the first sculpture he made in this form, in 1999. No one really knew how to do it; it was trial and error,” Williams said. “So this is a crafted sculpture. It wasn’t made; it was birthed.”

Janssen wasn’t convinced: “It’s a leftover bean, a second-rate bean that’s been lying around in storage for the better part of 20 years, because nobody else wanted it,” he said. “Nobody except Houston wants a leftover, second-rate bean.”

Houston editor Gray signed off her message with this parting shot: “Are you feeling — well, to steal someone’s joke from Twitter — like a ‘has-bean’?”

Featured photo by Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.