Chicago's Cloud Gate was completed in 2006, and it took less than a decade for a Chinese oil town to completely rip it off. On Tuesday, Chinese news agencies reported a "stainless steel sculpture in the shape of an oil bubble" to be unveiled at the site of the first oil well in Karamay, Xinjiang later this month. Aside from being surrounded by small, shiny metal dots and a set of LED lights beneath it, the structure is almost identical to The Bean in Millennium Park.
Cloud Gate was first designed by Anish Kapoor in 1999, who was inspired by liquid mercury—not oil. The idea was for the mirror-like surface to reflect the city's skyline—not a growing Chinese city whose name translates roughly to "black oil."
From "Bucksstar Coffee" to "Pizza Huh," China has a long history of churning out counterfeit imitations of American products, and The Bean is just a drop in one massive appropriated bucket. In any case, Cloud Gate is definitely better than Karamay's "oil bubble," and Chicagoans should be proud that they have a piece of public art that's deemed worthy of replication.