'The Bean' has officially reopened!

Here is why the iconic Chicago structure was closed for so long.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan
Senior National News Editor
The Bean
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

Just last week, officials revealed that "The Bean"—Anish Kapoor's iconic chrome-like sculpture in Millennium Park—would reopen to the public before the end of the month. We are delighted to report that the instantly-recognizable outdoor installation officially reopened yesterday after ten months of renovations.  

Officially named "Cloud Gate," the structure first closed down in August of 2023, when fencing was installed around it for the work to be completed.

According to a press release, the ongoing work included the installation of a new waterproofing system, accessible ramps, stairs, pavers around the site and a complete revamping of the podium around "The Bean." 

“Our team applauds 2FM, the Millennium Park Foundation and everyone else involved in the reopening of this iconic public sculpture that has become a symbol of Chicago across the U.S. and around the world,” Clinée Hedspeth, the commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, said in an official statement.

You can expect more landscaping work to be done around Grainger Plaza as well, just in time for Millennium Park's 20th anniversary four-day celebration, set to kick off on July 18. Outdoor workout sessions, public concerts and fireworks will take over the area as part of the extravaganza.

We expect social media to be flooded with images of the various activations alongside selfies taken by excited tourists and (let's be honest) just-as-happy locals in front of the mirrored surface of "The Bean." Oh, how we've missed it!

Why is the Chicago "Bean" so popular?

Designed by the London-based Kapoor, "The Bean" has almost come to define the city's artistic character. It was actually one of two proposals submitted to the city back in 1999, following a call for a "showpiece" that would be installed in Millennium Park. 

Believe it or not, the structure was initially criticized by locals, especially since it had yet to be completed when the park officially opened in 2004 (Kapoor was able to finish it in 2006). 

Now one of the most viral geotags across social media and a famous spot to take selfies in front of ("The Bean" is basically a giant, bean-shaped mirror), "The Bean" has become part and parcel of the city's skyline.

Why was "The Bean" closed?

The tourist attraction closed down back in August of 2023 for repairs. Folks visiting Millennium Park, the sculpture's home, were able to glance at it through chain link fencing, but getting up close and personal had not been possible.

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