After years of delays, a smaller version of Cloud Gate, the popular sculpture in Chicago by the British-Indian artist Anish Kapoor, has finally opened in New York.
The 19-foot-high, 40-ton “mini-Bean,” estimated to cost $8 million to $10 million, sits at 56 Leonard Street in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan. It is carefully wedged into the luxury tower’s exterior so that only residents can view all its sides. The condo, known as Jenga, was designed by Herzog & de Meuron. Kapoor himself bought a four-bedroom apartment there for $13.5 million in 2016.
News of the sculpture’s opening was first reported by Curbed, New York Magazine’s real estate and urban design website.
Work began on the new mirror-finish Kapoor sculpture more than four years ago, but the process was delayed by construction issues and Covid-19 travel restrictions.
An email from the fabricator, Performance Structures, Inc., to the developer, Alexico Group, in 2018 explained the complexity of the high-profile project and how it differed from Cloud Gate. It required 38 precision-formed stainless-steel plates and a custom supporting framework, all precisely welded together, sanded, and polished “so that when all were assembled the results would create a perfect sculptural form.”
“When completed, the entire sculpture will be suspended with a system of cables and spring members so that it will be able to move slightly with changes of temperature and wind and snow loads,” said the email, obtained by Tribeca Citizen.
A temporary ban on foreign visitors during the pandemic also prevented Kapoor’s specialized installation staff from entering the United States. Additional complications included shipping delays on the sculpture’s parts; a hot, exposed side of the piece expanding to the point of rupture; and the British construction staff being limited to three-month work periods.
While Kapoor’s sculpture at 56 Leonard Street is finally up for public viewing, it still lacks an official name. A naming ceremony is scheduled for the spring.