Mental Floss

"Sculpture is a heroic art" - Anish Kapoor

Andréa Fernandes

At the request of reader AMR, this weekend's "Feel Art Again" post features British sculptor Anish Kapoor (born 1954). Kapoor is known to the American public for two of his large public sculptures: "Cloud Gate" in Chicago's Millennium Park and "Sky Mirror," which was at Rockefeller Center in NY.

1. Anish Kapoor follows a very regular schedule. He arises at 5:30 every morning, always meditates for an hour, and arrives at his studio no later than 8:00 a.m. Apparently, he even wears the same clothes each day and eats the same food for lunch. Kapoor has remarked, "I find it very hard to vary my routine."

2. Chicagoans have nicknamed Kapoor's 110-ton "Cloud Gate" sculpture "the Bean" because it looks like a giant jelly bean. The sculpture, comprised of a seamless series of stainless steel plates, measures 66 feet by 33 feet. The Millennium Park installation was designed by Kapoor to "engage the Chicago skyline"¦ so that one will see the clouds kind of floating in, with those very tall buildings reflected in the work."

3. To coincide with the 2006 unveiling of "Sky Mirror" in Rockefeller Center, Kapoor designed a backpack to benefit Doctors Without Borders. The limited edition bag (only 500 were made) was inspired by the needs of humanitarian workers; it packed a solar panel to charge phones, removable compartments, an electric adaptor, a flashlight, and a water bottle. DWB received 100% of the profits from sales of the $695 bag.

4. While Kapoor might be known for his public art, he's not a big fan of the idea. Kapoor once said, "I hate public sculpture. It's really a problem. I've got to say it's really a problem. Public sculpture"¦ oh God, even the phrase makes me feel tired. Why am I engaged in it?"

5. Having been born in Mumbai, Kapoor is often labeled an "Indian artist," even though his whole artistic career has been spent in England. Kapoor moved to London in the 1970s to study at Hornsey College of Art and the Chelsea School of Art Design and has lived there ever since. Although the Western press might regard Kapoor as an Indian artist, the Indian public disagrees: Whenever Kapoor visits India, people tell him, "Oh, you're English."

Larger versions of "Sky Mirror" (above left) and "Cloud Gate" (above right) are available. Fans should check out Kapoor's official site; Kapoor at the Lisson Gallery (London), Gladstone Gallery (New York), and Galleria Continua (Italy); the Kapoor collections at the Cass Sculpture Foundation and Tate Modern; the construction of "Cloud Gate;" and photos of his work on flickr. Current Exhibition:Perspectives: Anish Kapoor (Washington, DC: through July 19, 2009) "Feel Art Again" usually appears every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. You can e-mail us at with details of current exhibitions, for sources or further reading, or to suggest artists.