Houston’s New Bean Sculpture is a Total Chicago Rip-Off

Look, we get it Houston. There’s no need to feel ashamed.

Chicago’s got the food (we’re talkin’ deep dish, hot dogs & Bon Appétit’s Restaurant City of the Year), we’ve got the entertainment (The Second City, Lollapalooza, The Chicago Cubs, anyone?), you already know our architecture is amazing (just look here, here or here), AND our people are simply the tops (the Obamas, Chance the Rapper, Oprah, Kanye, I could go on) – so we’re really not all that surprised that you’d wanna be just like us.


Honestly, what city wouldn’t?

But installing a blatant rip-off of our beloved bean? Now that, we just can’t stand for.

Houston Bean
Photo Credit: The Houston Chronicle

For those of you who don’t already know, the city of Houston installed a new sculpture outside of the Glassell School of Art last week that looks eerily similar to Chicago’s own iconic legume. In fact, both Chi’s now famous “Cloud Gate” and H-Town’s instantly infamous knock-off “Cloud Column” were designed by British artist Anish Kapoor, the only immediate difference between the two being that Houston’s bean stands garishly on its end (seen in all its annoying glory above).

Now, understandably, this obvious affront to Chicago culture has started a bit of a war between the two cities, one heightened by the fact that Houston seems to be close to toppling Chicago’s position as the third most populous city in America.

Statue in Chicago
The objectively better – and original – bean.

Most notably, the Houston fake-bean controversy has spurred a hilarious email-feud between Kim Janssen of the Chicago Tribune and Lisa Gray of the Houston Chronicle in which, we can happily report, our boy Kim totally kicked ass.

A few of our favorite Janssen offensives include:

  • In reference to Houston’s dumb bean: “It’s a leftover bean, a second-rate bean that’s been lying around in storage for the better part of 20 years, because nobody else wanted it. Nobody except Houston wants a leftover, second-rate bean.”
  • Noting Houston’s historical, yet unsightly, sprawl: “If I wanted to live in a suburb, I’d move to Oak Park.”
  • And, finally: “But your bean … your bean is wack.”


And wack it really, truly is.





Featured Image Credit: Culture Mapped Houston

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  • Avatar
    Pepper Gii
    Posted Apr 15, 2018 5:28 am 0Likes

    As a Houstonian, I am somewhat baffled at Chicago’s response to our new “bean” sculpture. It’s a beautiful piece of art by a great artist and fits great with the newly expanded art school. It was sitting in storage waiting for a home and now, it has found a home. It isn’t a knock-off of the bean in Chicago because it got created by the same artist BEFORE the bean in Chicago.

    Houston is proud to welcome ‘second-rate… leftovers… because nobody else wanted it’ from all over the world. Here, it will shine. Welcome Home, Cloud Column. What a great fit – the “City of Refugees”, the most ethnically/racially diverse city in America, largest foreign trade port city will now add another international flair.

    As for “ripping off Chicago” … “wanna be just like us”…. all I can say to that is no one would confuse Houston and Chicago because the two cities are so different in their own ways, so apparently that is not the case. Houston is covered in trees and has multiple skylines – it is built & engineered to grow, which is why it will soon surpass Chicago as the 3rd largest city – due in part to people moving here from places like Chicago. Also, we are proud to say that our hometown president actually returned back home after his presidency. He is also the president that all the other former presidents get along with the most. It must be that Houston charm.

    Last, as for Kim Janssen of the Chicago Tribune and Lisa Gray of the Houston Chronicle feud, there was no competition in the first place because our Lisa Gray made it clear that she wanted to end it quickly. There is no animosity towards Chicago. Houstonians love our city so there is no envy or jealously against another. If anything, we think of Houston as quite magical and often say the common phrase “please don’t ever change Houston”.

    • Avatar
      Jessica Hamrick
      Posted Apr 16, 2018 10:50 am 0Likes

      Hi Pepper,

      Thanks for your response! We’re just having a little fun at both Chicago’s and Houston’s expense, but we appreciate it nonetheless!

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