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Latest Chicago internet fad: Outrageous Facebook events with The Bean

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A viral campaign to Windex the iconic sculpture has quickly spun off into countless wacky copycat events

Curbed Chicago Flickr pool/Albert Hidalgo

After more then 20,000 Facebook users expressed interest in an upcoming public event to come together and clean Chicago’s famous Cloud Gate sculpture AKA “The Bean” with Windex, others soon took to social media to create events to block the polishing effort: Paint the Bean black so they can’t Windex it and Prime The Bean so they can paint it black. The trend spawned numerous variations—some ridiculous, others obscene—on the “blank the Bean” theme and a local internet meme was born.

While it is hoped that no property damage comes about from some of the more destructive event suggestions, the original Windex The Bean event is likely to draw a reasonable crowd with more than 2,500 RSVPs. The event page even features an “I cleaned The Bean” t-shirt showing the sculpture next to a bottle of the blue cleaning fluid.

Conceived by British artist Anish Kapoor, Cloud Gate is clad in a highly polished stainless steel that often collects smudges and fingerprints from countless tourists that visit Chicago’s Millennium Park. According to WBEZ’s Curious City, the sculpture is wiped down two or three times each day with microfiber cloth and a solution of water and liquid detergent. The Bean also gets a deep pressure wash and wax twice a year.