7 People Have Been Arrested for Vandalizing Anish Kapoor’s Beloved ‘Cloud Gate’ Sculpture in Chicago

The motive for the incident is unknown, and the graffiti has already been removed by the city.

A view of the Cloud Gate in Chicago, United States on July 24, 2018. Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

Seven people were taken into custody in Chicago last night after allegedly vandalizing Anish Kapoor’s widely beloved public sculpture Cloud Gate, the city’s police department has confirmed.

Responding to a trespassing complaint, CPD showed up at Chicago’s Millennium Park minutes after midnight this morning. There, they found that Kapoor’s artwork, popularly known as “The Bean,” had been defaced with white spray paint on the lower half of its southwest side. The words “35th Crew” as well various tags were found on both the sculpture and the walls of the Cancer Survivors Garden at Maggie Daley Park nearby.

“Last night’s vandalism to Chicago’s iconic Cloud Gate is reprehensible,” a spokesperson from Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events told artnet in an email, before going on to explain that a cleaning crew has already removed the graffiti from the sculpture. The cleaners used a mild detergent to wash off the paint, then polished the damaged surface area with a stainless steel polish.

A representative from the Chicago police confirmed to artnet News that the seven alleged vandals, all adults, have been taken into custody. However, charges have not yet been issued, as the department is waiting for further information from detectives looking into the incident. No motivation for the vandalism is known at this point, nor has it been connected to any other crimes in the area.

“Clearly, they chose this area to make a big statement,” city mayor Lori Lightfoot told the Chicago Sun-Times. “There are some things that should be sacred. Millennium Park and `The Bean’ have been an important, iconic heart of who we are as Chicago from the time that park opened…It is unbelievably unacceptable for somebody to be defacing something like that.”

Chicago’s WGN-TV showed footage of the alleged vandals, seemingly five men and two women, being arrested and marched away with their faces blurred out to protect their identity. They directed a stream of profanity at reporters, which was also bleeped out.

Lightfoot praised employees of MB Real Estate Services, a private management company responsible for security at Millennium Park, for spotting the criminals and quickly alerting the police. The mayor intends to discuss further security measures with the Chicago Park District and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, she told the Sun-Times.

Cloud Gate has become one of Chicago’s best-known attractions since it was introduced in 2006. Last night’s incident isn’t the first time the work was defaced. In 2009, two unknown vandals, never caught, scratched the names “PeterS” and “Ashley” onto the sculpture’s opposite side.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.