Denizens of Tribeca celebrated today, as Anish Kapoor’s much-anticipated bean sculpture for New York has finally been finished. The long-awaited sculpture is no longer shrouded by construction barriers and fencing or covered with plywood paneling. The artwork, finished in a polished reflective surface similar in material and proportion to the British artist’s famous Cloud Gate in Chicago, is situated at the corner of Herzog & de Meuron’s 56 Leonard, colloquially known as the Jenga Tower, squished between the roof canopy and sidewalk.
Plans to realize the bulbous, stainless-steel work at the site have been in progress nearly since the building’s inception, with developer Izak Senbahar of Alexico Group heralding its installation. When the residential building opened in 2017, the bean was far from ready. An email exchange between the fabricator Performance Structures, and the developer, reproduced in local newspaper Tribeca Citizen, and previously reported by AN, revealed the complexities of constructing the piece.
In particular, the text details the differences between its predecessor in Chicago and the New York version. Among these improvements is the sculpture’s suspension system, which is built on several individual frames at Leonard instead of on one large base frame in Millennium Park, and its fabrication was carried out via painstakingly fitted “slices” in New York while Chicago’s legume was realized with on-site welding and fairing, which “more than doubled the cost of the sculpture.”
As time passed and fabrication of the sculpture trudged along, in March 2020 it, like many other construction projects in the city, was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Kapoor’s installation team, based out of the U.K., was unable to enter the country due to travel restrictions and the delivery of sculpture pieces were riddled by shipping delays.
The sculpture remained half-finished for the better part of a year and half—in “half-bean” status, half baked—until fabrication finally picked up again in September 2021. And the challenges didn’t end there: Last summer a report claimed the bean “ruptured” as a result of heat. AN editors can confirm that the construction sounds of the fitting, grinding, and polishing filled Tribeca’s shallow canyons for months on end. On a sunny afternoon in February, one woman, upon laying eyes on the gleaming orb, proclaimed, “It’s finally f*cking finished.”
A formal name for the sculpture has not yet been determined. However, similar to its ancestor, it will likely always be affectionately known as New York’s bean. Let the selfies begin!