The Bean is a high point. See some of the low points, and a few changes of direction, at Dushko Petrovic's Slate piece. Sample:
Nowadays, public sculpture does something quite different. In Chicago, for example, tourists and locals alike flock in huge numbers to Cloud Gate, a giant, mirrored bean that makes the lakeside AT&T Plaza much more popular and photogenic. For the interested parties, the $23 million project has been an unmitigated success; Mayor Richard Daley has even proclaimed May 15 to be "Cloud Gate Day." Still, one of the many things this ingenious landmark reflects back at us is the fact that we inhabit a decidedly ambivalent era for public sculpture.Cloud Gate's better known nickname is just further proof of Petrovic's thesis.