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Public Art Program > Rara Avis
S. Cicero Ave. & W. 63rd St.
Chicago, IL 60638
Located in the Chicago Midway International Airport, Ralph Helmick and Stuart Schecter’s Rara Avis is an epic suspended sculpture poetically linking natural and manmade aviation. Comprising thousands of precisely suspended pewter elements, the artwork employs three-dimensional Pointillism. From a distance, the sculpture is a monumental cardinal, Illinois’ state bird. Upon closer examination, a perceptual shift occurs and the large avian form reveals a composition of over 2,500 small renderings of aircraft. Over 50 different aircraft are represented, ranging from Leonardo da Vinci–inspired designs and 19th-century balloons to classic passenger airliners and 21st-century spacecraft.