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Flamingo Sculpture, Chicago

4.1
#127 of 351 in Things to do in Chicago
Flamingo, created by noted American artist Alexander Calder, is a 53ft tall stabile located in the Federal Plaza in front of the Kluczynski Federal Building in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It was commissioned by the United States General Services Administration and was unveiled in 1974, although Calder's signature on the sculpture indicates it was constructed in 1973.AttributesFlamingo weighs 50 tons, is composed of steel, and is vermilion in color. Calder gave the stabile its color, which has come to be called "Calder red", to offset it from the black and steel surroundings of nearby office buildings, including the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe-designed Kluczynski Federal Building. The stabile is an art form which Calder pioneered. It is an abstract structure that is completely stationary, as opposed to a mobile, which can move with air currents. In 2012, the sculpture was repainted using the historic "Calder Red" color.Commissioning and unveilingCalder was commissioned to design the sculpture because of his well-established international reputation; the space, surrounded by rectangular modern buildings, necessitated the kind of arching forms and dynamic surfaces that a large-scale Calder stabile could provide. Flamingo was the first work of art commissioned by the General Services Administration under the federal Percent for Art program, which allocates a percentage of a project's budget to public art. Calder unveiled the model for Flamingo on April 23, 1973 at the Art Institute of Chicago; the sculpture was presented to the public for the first time on October 25, 1974, at the same time that Calder's Universe mobile was unveiled at what was then known as the Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower). The day was proclaimed "Alexander Calder Day" and featured a circus parade.
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  • A structure of a unique red, created by artist Alexander Calder. Particular its color by the artist and baptized with its name, which there lies the greater value of the work, since it is located in the Federal Plaza surrounded by skyscrapers of steel in black and grey and it is from the floor comes this red figure that illuminates all. Another peculiarity of the work is the space feeling that watching it feels to a size close to the audience despite his height, runs and is observed with ease. As it is an abstract figure is interpretation of which notes to elaborate the idea, but their lines clearly have the sinuosity of the organic, so that it can resemble vegetation or animal figure. Remarkable.
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  • Alexander Calder has created a fun sculpture in the Flamingo that excites the imagination of young and adults alike. It presents an iconic photo that is unique to Chicago.  more »
  • When you view this art piece in the day time, it really adds to the surrounding vibe. It's free so that's great. There are usually skateboarders in the area so it's not completely friendly. During the...  more »

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The Midwest's major center for business conventions, Chicago boasts many affordable places to stay, with most hotels located around the airport and the city's central business district. To discover the city from a comfortable base within walking distance of most tourist attractions, aim for one of the big chain hotels in the downtown area. If you're traveling on a limited budget and wish to get a deeper sense of Chicago's many diverse neighborhoods, consider staying away from the pricey city center and explore suburbs on a commuter train line for easy city access.
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