BATTLE OF THE BEANS - Houston gets new sculpture, Chicagoans not happy

"The Windy City" is giving Houston some heat over a new sculpture in the "Space City."

The piece is by the same artist, Anish Kapoor, who is behind the iconic Chicago “Bean,” which is officially titled “Cloud Gate.”

“Cloud Column” was installed in the plaza outside the home of the Glassell School of Art of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Greg Tinterow, director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, explains that the piece has been in the works since the late 1990s and it was originally planned for a museum in London. The project did not work out and Houston heard the sculpture was available around four years ago.

“It’s human-scaled, at the same time it’s monumental," describes Tinterow. "It’s a beacon to the whole community. Everyone will know where we are and what we do here.”

Houston’s bean-like sculpture weighs ten tons and stands at almost 33 feet tall. Unlike the Chicago version, Houston’s "bean" is vertical and Tinterow says this makes the sky within reach.

“With that giant scoop, with that cavity, it captures the clouds and then hands them to the viewer right at eye level," adds Tinterow. "You don’t have to crane your neck, it just delivers them to you.”

Houston’s artistic gain is creating a buzz in Chicago. Some Chicagoans are not too pleased.

“I don’t think there’s any reason for Chicagoans to be nervous or act defensively -- it’s a great city!," says Tinterow. "They have magnificent museums and public art there too. Anish Kapoor has monuments around the world. Chicago doesn’t own Anish Kapoor, neither do we.”

Some people say the “battle of the beans” may have more to do with the possibility of Houston overtaking Chicago as the third largest city in the U.S. Houstonians say they shouldn't take it out on the "bean."

“Art’s not really a competition," says Zoe Baker, who stopped by to view “Cloud Column” on Wednesday. "It’s really not. I mean, an artist is trying to share his work more,”

Besides, they say, our "bean" is different and Houstonians already feel it represents the city well.

 “I like that this thing is straight up and down, like a rocket ship, like Rocket City!” says Jimmy Hemphill.

While construction in the plaza is underway, the public is still welcome to walk by and take a selfie with the sculpture using the hashtag #KapoorMFAH.

The plaza and new art building officially open to the public on May 20.