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Two very different beans

As far as I know, there are now at least two mercury-like and bean-like public art sculptures in the US by Anish Kapoor. The first is, of course, in Chicago’s Millennium Park (pictured above). Commonly referred to as just “The Bean”, the sculpture was dedicated in 2006 and, since then, has gained international fame as a solid place to take a selfie.

But as of this year, there is now a second “mini-bean” in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood. Sitting literally underneath 56 Leonard (a residential tower designed by Herzog & de Meuron), this bean varietal was first announced in 2008, but has taken a few years to be completed. The building itself was completed about 5 five years ago.

It turns out though, that all beans are not made equal. Here’s some initial feedback from Bloomberg CityLab’s Kristin Capps:

New York’s half-bean feels half-baked: a disappointing imitation for the city and a franchise play by the artist. For New York to install the lesser version of a Chicago icon reeks of second-city status. And while the original sculpture is still a treasure, the second iteration feels like a monument from 20 years ago — because it is.

But it’s all perception. If Chicago’s bean had never been unveiled in 2006, and this was the first shiny urban selfie bean, then I’m sure we’d all be headed to Lower Manhattan with our phones. But instead, here we are talking about how it “reeks of second-city status” and how it is the “eyesore that no one asked for“.

It’s all very fascinating if you think about it. And it’s a perfect example of why blockchains are proving to be so valuable in the world of art. Because with art, provenance and authenticity are everything. You need to know where it came from, who made it, and that it’s scarce. And as we can see here, it can be the difference between loving a bean and hating a bean.

Photo by Wicker Woodsong on Unsplash

1 Comment so far

  1. dermot Sweeny

    The Chicago bean which is fabulous was actually made in a metal shop in Toronto and carefully shipped to “The Second City”


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