The winter gate

When I visited Chicago the last time, the sculpture by Anish Kapoor called “Cloud Gate” had not yet been installed, and I had not come across any work by Anish Kapoor. In the years between one began to hear more about him. I saw his monumental sculptures on a visit to Seoul where, coincidentally, the Samsung Gallery of Art, Leeum, had an exhibition of his works. The Family and I wandered through his sculptures, and loved his play with space.

Cloud Gate, sculpture by Anish Kapoor, Chicago

So, trying to keep myself awake in order to beat jet lag on my first day in Chicago, I walked down Michigan Avenue to the Millennium park, and climbed the stairs next to the skating rink to look at the bean-shaped piece. The little plaza was full of people looking at it. Among all the public art that I’ve come across, this seems to be the one which invites most interaction. People walk through it and stare at their own reflection. I walked around it slowly and took photos, some of which you see here.

What can one do in cold Chicago?

I don’t visit Chicago very often, maybe once in a decade. So there’s a lot of this lively city which I haven’t seen. Now that I have to spend a week there on work, I’m trying to figure out what I can take the time out to see.

The first step: recall what I’ve seen already. The one thing I remember most clearly is a wonderful dinner in Greek Town. At the end of the long dinner I wanted to taste the house-made baklava. I pleaded with the waiter to give me a small piece because I was too full to eat the normal serving, but I was told it was not possible. I got a full large helping, which I had to bag to eat at breakfast in the airport the next day. It’s such a great memory that I don’t want to go back and find something different.

The next thing I definitely remember is the Art Institute. I wandered through it once looking at the incredible collection of Mesoamerican and Andean art. That was the first time I’d seen such a variety of art from this part of the world. I don’t think I’ve seen such a collection ever since then. I might go back to look at it.

It is 33 degrees in Mumbai today, and I see that it is 3 degrees below freezing right now in Chicago! Even if I’m bundled up well, I’m afraid I might find it a little too cold for a few things: walking the lakefront trail, for example. I haven’t seen Anish Kapoor’s "Cloud Gate" (photo above), or Magdalena Abakanowicz’s "Agora". I hope I can acclimatize enough to go see at least one of these pieces of sculpture.

I do plan to visit the Ledge at Sear’s Tower. I’m sure it’ll be fun comparing this experience with standing on the viewing platform of the World Financial Centre in Shanghai.

While browsing for attractions I found a link to the Chicago Pedway. This sounds so quirky that I want to walk through this. I guess this list more than fills up the few spare hours I might have. Is there anything else which I could do?