Art Institute of Chicago
During the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, the Art Institute of Chicago hosted the first World Parliament of Religions—one of the most significant assemblies in the history of modern religion. Exactly 108 years before the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington, DC, in an auditorium adjacent to the museum’s Grand Staircase (now Fullerton Hall), Swami Vivekananda delivered a milestone speech calling for universal acceptance of all religions and an end to all “bigotry and fanaticism.”
Public Notice 3, a new work by Jitish Kallat, exposes the hauntingly strange connection between these two September 11 events. Mumbai-based Kallat, a rising international star, was invited by Madhuvanti Ghose, the Alsdorf Associate Curator of Indian, Southeast Asian, Himalayan, and Islamic Art at the Art Institute, to create this impressive piece—his first major work in an American museum. A monumental text-based installation, Public Notice 3 (which remains on view through September 12) occupies the Grand Staircase and reinterprets Vivekananda’s speech. The text is made visible in LED displays installed against each of the historic stair’s 118 risers; illuminated in green, blue, yellow, orange, and red, the words take on the symbolism of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security threat-level advisory system…see the entire review in the print version of September’s magazine.