MFAH installs giant ‘Cloud Column’ in the Glassell School’s new plaza

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HOUSTON — If you want to compare Houston to Chicago, go right ahead! They`ve got deep-dish. We've got barbecue.  They've got one World Series title in the 21st century— and so do we.

When it comes to outdoor sculptures, many people are aware of the bean in Chicago. The Cloud Gate, created by artist Anish Kapoor, is a huge attraction in Chicago's Millennium Park. Now we've got our own bean.

The Museum of Fine Arts Houston is finishing installation of Kapoor's Cloud Column here.  Our bean is inside the new Glassell School Plaza. It's 32 feet tall and weighs 21,000 pounds.

Made from sheets of steel welded together, hand-formed, hammered and bent into place, the capsule began taking shape in London in 1999 — a full five years before Chicago's scuplture! Our museum acquired it a year ago, but getting it here and installing it takes a small army.

Installation manager Dale Benson explains,  "it had a cage around the entire thing. That was loaded onto a sea freighter. It came over by boat. We had to truck it from the port to the museum. We had to get it from a horizontal position to a vertical position."

David Williams of the London installation crew says, "we're using a 675 pound crane, in a confined space."

Benson adds, "and it was a beautiful ballet, an orchestration in the air to get it righted. And then we flew it over and landed on its spot."

Williams says, "it's really an outstanding piece. It's a one-off. It's not an addition. It's a unique piece of artwork."

The plaza is set to open May 20.  Benson believes the Cloud Column will become an iconic image for Houston.

If you're still comparing our city to the windy one, most here will tell you there simply is no comparison!

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