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Flamingo Sculpture, Chicago

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#129 of 347 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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171 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • August 14, 2017
    Another great example of art in the public space in Chicago: colourful, impressive, timeless. You can view the sculpture from the Willis Tower and a miniature is on display at The Art Institute of Chi...  more »
  • August 11, 2017
    Do not profess to be a " cultured" person but I do not see a Flamingo in this sculpture. Actually saw it while on a walking ghost tour of Chicago. It is next door to the Federal Courthouse where John ...  more »
  • August 9, 2017
    Definitely impressive even during the day. The bright orange color adds drama to its stark surroundings of gray and brown buildings within the Financial District.  more »

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