A nearly identical knockoff of Chicago’s famous Bean has popped up in the Chinese city of Karamay—and we’re sorry to say we’re not too surprised. Famous for its shameless copycat culture, China has produced countless replicas from pirated DVDs and purses to uncanny imitations of world-famous buildings (and even towns). Pictures of the reflective Bean counterfeit—dubbed the “Big Oil Bubble” in China—surfaced on Chinese media sites yesterday and it appears to have a few, perhaps tacky, differences.
Chicago’s Bean, known formally as Cloud Gate, is a 110-ton liquid mercury-inspired sculpture completed in 2006 by British artist Anish Kapoor. China’s new installation bears a striking resemblance to the Bean, though Chinese news agencies say the stainless steel artwork was created in the shape of an oil bubble, not a bean, and was named as such. The Big Oil Bubble is located at the first oil well in Karamay, a city whose name roughly translates to “black oil” in the Uyghur language. The artists behind the new installation have yet to be named.
Like the original, the copycat sculpture is arched in the middle to allow visitors to go beneath the artwork and look up and around at the reflective underbelly. There are, however, a few notable differences between the new piece and Kapoor’s artwork. For one, the surface of China’s new sculpture is slightly textured to mimic the appearance of oil, while the Bean’s surface is completely smooth. Many small metal blobs, meant to represent dots of oil, surround the Chinese sculpture. And, for an extra showy touch, the unnamed designers installed LEDs underneath the Big Oil Bubble to give the cavernous interior a rave-like atmosphere.
Images via Sina