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Flamingo Sculpture, Chicago

4.0
#29 of 78 in Sightseeing in Chicago
Monument Tourist Spot
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.
To visit Flamingo Sculpture on your holiday in Chicago, and find out what else Chicago has to offer, use our Chicago travel itinerary planner.
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152 reviews
  • One of the things I love about Chicago is the public art. This Calder sculpture is great and really captures the imagination of young and old. Such a great contrast and link to all the skyscrapers aro...  more »
  • If you appreciate art and architecture, there are so many little hidden gems of History all over the city for you to enjoy. This is another one. We passed it along one of the tours, where you get a le...  more »
  • I am a photographer. If you want some good images with lots of atmosphere, try shooting this art at night in the rain. Great reflections.  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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