Free Chicago Walking Tours offers guided 2-hour walking tours of Chicago's most iconic neighborhoods and sights. We are Chicago's only locally owned free tour operator. Our experienced guides take pride in their tours and it shows - we received the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence in 2018 and are proud partners of Choose Chicago.
1974 was a great year for art in Chicago. We unveiled The Four Seasons mosaic that we just saw as well as American artist Alexander Calder’s “Flamingo” – often referred to as “Calder’s Flamingo”.
Alexander Calder was famous for a type of sculpture called “mobiles” – very similar in concept to the mobiles you see hanging above a baby’s crib. You know, the ones that dangling and move around helping the baby fall asleep. Of course, this piece is NOT a mobile, it’s, in fact, stationary and that was by design.
What makes this such a beautiful piece of artwork is not only the sculpture itself, but it’s location and what is surrounding it. You see we’re in the middle of Federal Plaza, surrounded by a trio of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s designed buildings. Calder’s Flamingo helps balance here. Van der Rohe’s glass and black steel buildings provide the perfect backdrop for the elegant curve and intense vermillion color that is now known simply as “Calder Red”.
Fun fact: For one reason or another Calder was in love with the circus. When living in Paris he’d often entertain visitors to his studio with impromptu circuses with handmade animals and figurines he had built. This fondness for the circus might explain his arrival to the unveiling of “Flamingo” which was atop a Gold and White circus wagon pulled by 40 horses!!