Thanks to a restoration, federal plaza's bird–now caged–will sing again
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.
Built for $350,000 in 1973, the sculpture is a colorful counterpoint to the dark-clad buildings of the Federal Center. Calder, in his early 70s, supervised the planning and the construction of the sculpture from his Roxbury, CT studio.
Now back to that circus thing. Calder really liked circuses. And when he wasn't leading them, he was making his own minatures ones, as early as the 1920s. Here's an enjoyable 1961 film clip of Calder doing this thing:
The GSA estimates that the restoration will cost $213,226.