The switch will be a temporary five-year trial to test the waters for future public art relocation projects.
The City of Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) have announced plans to temporarily exchange Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate in Millennium Park, known colloquially as “The Bean”, with Ottmar Hörl’s Pink Rabbit sculpture in Vienna, Austria.
According to the official release, the swap is part of a new worldwide incentive that seeks to increase intercontinental artistic collaboration and allow people to experience the wealth of public art around the world from the comfort of their own city. It comes as part of a new multi-million dollar citywide funding for artists, concerts, and new public art known as Arts 77 that was announced roughly a year ago.
Creative Arts Director at the World Public Art Directory (WPAD) Dr. Huami Kidin has said it is the first of hopefully many of its kind to come. “With sculptures residing in cities for eternity, inevitably how much they inspire and enchant the local population dwindles a little with every passing year. At the same time, not everybody can travel from continent to continent. This way people can see astounding creations from around the world on their own doorstep without having to pay for a trip to the other side of the planet.”
Ottmar Hörl’s Pink Rabbit was built in 2003 for the 500th anniversary of Albrecht Dürer’s famous watercolor ‘Young Hare’ which is to this day one of the most famous depictions of an animal in the history of art.
The Austrian consul in Chicago, Professor Kanut Belyvit, who is overseeing the switch said “Hörl’s 3D plastic reimagining of Dürer’s famous painting is without a doubt one of the most iconic and imaginative pieces of public art currently in Europe. When I first saw it I was immediately taken aback by its striking elegance as it sat juxtaposed against the 19th Century Neo-Renaissance façade of the Vienna State Opera. Chicago will be lucky to have such a marvel.”
Regardless of the so-called elegance of Hörl’s vivid creation, we will of course be heartbroken to see our beloved shining 12-foot sculpture leave Millennium Park. The result of 168 separate stainless steel plates welded together to imitate a drop of liquid mercury, the landmark, first-named Cloud Gate, has come to be so unanimously named ‘The Bean’ that even the Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor who designed it has admitted he too now calls it ‘The Bean’. For now, at least, the swap is temporary.
The exchange is likely to take place at the beginning of 2023 with a special ceremony in each sculpture’s respective new home.
More information will be released soon.
Sorry, yes this was an April Fools and no, we do not condone anybody even thinking about taking our beloved Bean away from us.
[Featured image from Shutterstock]