Alexander Calder

Rally at 5

Political rally at Chicago's Federal Plaza, © 2013 Celia Her City

The Flamingo turned a fantastic color during a rally Wednesday.

It was great weather for a protest, mild and clear.  The rally began in the afternoon, my old office window rattling from all the noise.  It was still going on as commuters began pouring into the streets at 5.

The rally was in support of charter schools, but most passersby really had no idea, or took it for just another teachers’ rally.  There are so many protests in the Loop, and lots of agitation about the schools.

Click image to enlarge.

Bert was here

Bert was here

If Calder could know how much pleasure his sculpture gives, he’d be happy.

It’s quite poorly named.  The thing, in most lights, has few of the flamingo’s qualities.  With its squat, heavy base and monumental scale it more resembles an aardvark, or perhaps an anteater.  And the red makes one think of the Fire and a phoenix.  (Will Chicago rise from the difficulties consuming it now?)

Notwithstanding its name, the Flamingo makes a delightful frame.  It grabs your attention and holds it, prevailing against the tall bland buildings dwarfing it on all sides.  Its massive curves and primary red blast away at its surroundings—at the universe—, forcing you to take it into account in some way.

So, yes, when leaving the post office on a rainy day, I did have stop and take this picture, and consider the red bleeding into the puddles, like the fantasy land that Bert drew on the sidewalk in Mary Poppins.