Chicago Sky for Sale : Project Document


    In the summer of 2023, the Iconic Public Sculpture of Chicago city, Cloud Gate was closed for maintenance scheduled to last until spring 2024, with no specific reopening date provided. The information disclosed to the public was that the maintenance would continue through the spring. As April draws to a close, the fences around Cloud Gate remain in place.

    For nine months, visitors have been peering at the sculpture through gaps in the fence positioned about ten meters away from the sculpture, climbing onto a high pedestal to take selfies with The Bean in the distance, or sticking their hands through the fence gaps to take photos with their phones. Shops near Michigan Avenue where The Bean is located are selling fist-sized fake Bean models and keychains, and visitors who cannot experience The Bean up close are buying these items and returning home.

    Now that the significant sculptural characteristic of 'reflecting audience' is lost because Cloud Gate's real presence is isolated from people, it is somewhat interesting to observe that people's expectations of the art commodified as a tour attraction are frustrated and are being met in alternative ways.

    While The Bean still sleeps behind the fences, artist Yukyeom Kim (Yuki) has created hundreds of 22-inch diameter spheres floating in the air, inflated with helium and covered in silver chromatic surface. These 100 limited-edition spheres, reflecting the surroundings, were sold in front of Millennium Park near the construction-obscured Bean. People bought these ‘reflective balloons’ and saw how they reflected themselves on it together with the Chicago sky. When the wind blew, they heard the bells attached to the balloons jingle and felt pieces of the sky shaking in their hands. As they moved through the city, more of Chicago’s cityscape was reflected on the balloons along their paths. Those included other areas that the stationary Cloud Gate could not capture.

   Each balloon comes with a tag featuring one of a hundred unique designs. Each shape on the tag, marked with a watercolor stroke of blue, represents one of a hundred unique skies. The name of the person who takes a balloon is recorded as the first owner on the Chicago Sky for Sale website edition page. If a balloon is passed on to someone else, this transaction is also recorded on the website. Some balloons accidentally escaped into the air. People's reactions to these ‘moving reflections’ can be seen through project documentation. The list of people who 'own the sky' is permanently preserved on the page and is updated whenever the owners report a change in ownership of the pieces.