So, there’s been a lot of back and forth between Houston and Chicago lately about this whole new sculpture in the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s Sculpture Garden. Yes, Houston got a similar sculpture to Chicago’s iconic Bean (real name “Cloud Gate”) in its iconic Millennium Park. But, guys, it’s really fine. We’re all blowing this out of proportion. You know why?
Because we all know that Houston is not the “cultural abyss” or “uptight” city the Chicago Tribune described it as. Like, something as ridiculously wrong as that doesn’t honestly warrant any more of a response than just, “lol ok no.” That writer clearly doesn’t know the fabulousness of our city and for that, actually, I just feel bad for him. (Note: I got mad love for Chicago, read my city guide! Peace, not war, friends.)
So, we move on. AnYwAyS.
If you haven’t been in the Museum District recently, let me paint a picture: TONS OF CONSTRUCTION. The biggest project in the area (and actually, the largest ongoing cultural arts project in the country) is MFAH’s expansion. The museum is building the new Glassell School, which comes with a sloped roof that doubles as a chill place to hang on a beautiful day plus an amphitheater for performances. I’m pretty sure the whole new outdoor space is called the Brown Foundation Inc. Plaza. All this is phase one of the transformation and it opens May 20! And this phase……. includes said gorgeous Bean-like sculpture.
Cloud Column (2006) was installed this week but you won’t be able to see it up close in all its glory until that May 20 opening date. It’s 30 feet tall and weighs 21,000 lbs. It was created by the same artist, Anish Kapoor, but it does differ from Cloud Gate in one kinda major way: The stainless-steel surface has been hand-worked, so it’s not as smooth as Chicago’s. It’s humanly imperfect, which I think is pretty beautiful.
Cloud Column has two very different sides. The Bissonnet-facing side is beveled outward, while the other side is concave. When you look at that side, your reflection from down at the bottom is flipped upside down at the tippy top of the structure. Similarly, the clouds are down at the bottom by you. It’s pretty gorgeous. I think I like that side most.
While I got in early for a preview, I can’t wait to see the finished product in May! A new fountain and another sculpture is coming and the bottom of the Cloud Column still needs some construction.
See you soon, Wannabean.