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Saturday, June 23, 2012

The currently hidden "Flamingo"

This evening I was walking around downtown Chicago after work and as usual took a meandering path and walked past Federal Plaza this evening and snapped this shot and shared it on instagram & Twitter. Federal Plaza are a series of buildings and a plaza designed by Mies van der Rohe located along Dearborn & Clark between Jackson & Adams.

What you see hiding in that plastic and scaffolding is a sculpture - Flamingo - created by artist Alexander Calder. It's being restored currently and Lee Bey who comments on architecture in Chicago even talks about this piece:
The 30-ton work is now shrouded in a mysterious-looking opaque scaffold box – providing a bit of a visual punch itself. Inside, workers and conservators will spend the next month applying a zinc primer designed to make the sculpture more durable.

Next will come a topcoat of paint which will bring back the work's visual vibrancy and allow the industrial steel beauty to stand up against the elements, according to the complex's owner, the federal General Services Administration.

It's good to see the federal government doing right by one of the the city's most celebrated works of public art. Designed by Alexander Calder, Flamingo was a big deal when it was dedicated – Calder himself came – in 1974. In fact, Calder was a fan of circuses and he led a procession of elephants, 40 hours and calliopes up State Street as part of the dedication activities. Calder also dedicated his mobile, Universe, in the new Sears Tower the same day.
This is how it looked when it was still out in the open hopefully we'll see it look new in the near future!
 BTW, the pic above shows the Dirksen Federal Building. The courthouse where Rod Blagojevich and George Ryan two of Illinois' former governors had been tried and convicted of corruption charges. Those and other corruption cases have been tried there. And outside a huge sculpture, a work of art. Imagine that!

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