So apparently, Chicago has some beef with Houston.
Wait, not beef, but another protein which is essential to a regular diet. This proxy war is not erupting over beef, but beans.
UGH– Here’s the scoop, from Drew Schwartz of Vice News…
Earlier this week, Houston unveiled a 21,000-pound, stainless-steel Goliath of a sculpture outside its Museum of Fine Arts called the “Cloud Column,” made by Anish Kapoor—the same artist who brought Chicago “Cloud Gate,” better known as the Bean.
But seeing as there’s been some tension simmering between the two cities for a while—Houston’s on track to outstrip Chicago as America’s third-largest metropolis, which is a sore spot—things are really heating up now that they both have big-ass metal beans.
On Tuesday, Chicago Tribune columnist Kim Janssen fired the first shot in the battle of the beans with a scalding hit piece: “Unoriginal 4th place Houston gets its own bean sculpture… whatever.” After a kind of lackluster diss about Houston’s bean being “uptight” (because it’s upright) and Chicago’s being “chill” (it’s horizontal), Janssen took out the claws.
“If being surrounded by a cultureless abyss insufficiently communicates to confused tourists that they are in Houston, the bean’s verticality will therefore act as an additional reminder of their poor life choices,” he wrote.
Yep, he definitely TRIED it.
Of course Houstonians could not let such ridiculous shots go unanswered. You can read the back and forth between Janssen and the Houston Chronicle’s Lisa Gray for further bean drama.
But instead of fanning the flames, Texas Leftist would instead like to thank Mr. Janssen for the robust opportunity. Instead of bringing us down, the attacks on Houston have yielded the opposite effect, by pouring worldwide attention on to our new sculpture, and the cultural oasis which surrounds it.
Thanks for giving Houstonians the opportunity to highlight our world-class arts institutions, like the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Menil Collection and Children’s Museum of Houston, all mere blocks away from our illustrious new bean.
Of course you may run into a crowd while doing so, as Houston’s Museums are some of the most well-attended in the United States. In fact, with nearly 2.3 million visitors in 2015, the Houston Museum of Natural Science even outranked Chicago’s famous institutions for that year, and has been growing in numbers since.
It’s no secret that the city of Houston is a king of sprawl, with a land mass nearly 3 times the size of Chicago. But even with this being the case, some parts of Houston can offer a lot of excitement even for visitors used to more urban, dense environments. And thankfully, the new bean is at the heart of some of Houston’s most exciting attractions. Far from the “cultureless abyss” suggested by Janssen, Houston’s offers a ton of world-class attractions, be it music, sports or urban exploration.
So there you have it. If Chicagoans really want to start a war over the beans, they are welcome. But in the end, they may end up helping Houston’s ultimate goal. Houstonians, get your selfie sticks ready.
UPDATE: Point of Order for Houston… Does this sculpture really look like a bean?? Why should we let Chicago name our new thing. Instead of the ‘Houston Bean’ we should call it the Houston Space Pod. Thoughts??? Put ‘em in the comments.