Looking to Take a Selfie at Chicago’s Bean? You’ll Have to Wait.

The park is undergoing maintenance until 2024

"Cloud Gate" aka the Bean
Cloud Gate, known as The Bean, is seen at AT-and-T Plaza at Millennium Park in Chicago, Illinois.
Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Just how many people have taken selfies in front of Anish Kapoor’s sculpture Cloud Gate — the public art work best known by its nickname of “The Bean”? In 2019, a Block Club Chicago article noted that a million Instagram photos had been tagged with hashtags related to the sculpture in question — and given the years since then and the fact that not every photo taken ends up on Instagram — it seems likely that the total figure involves at least eight figures.

That figure’s going to be stable for at least a little while, though. As Hyperallergic’s Elaine Velie reports, Cloud Gate is about to be closed to the public as Millennium Park undergoes maintenance, a process that’s set to last until sometime in 2024. Though if you’re seeking another mirrored sculpture from Kapoor, there is one in New York City these days — though it’s a bit smaller than its counterpart in the Windy City.

As the City of Chicago declared in an announcement of the maintenance, the repairs are a routine matter addressing the age of the park that the Bean calls home. “This necessary maintenance by the City of Chicago will replace pavers and make other repairs and accessibility upgrades to the Plaza — to enhance the nearly 20-year-old Park’s appearance, visitor experience, and position as the #1 attraction in the Midwest,” the city said in a statement.

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All of which will be little comfort for any Chicago visitors looking to take a Bean selfie of their own — or, perhaps, visit a location that plays a critical part in the film Source Code. Still, infrastructure upkeep is vitally important — and keeping the park both functional and safe is important for all visitors, whether or not they have selfies in mind.


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