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Jitish Kallat: Public Notice 3

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Jitish Kallat’s site-specific installation, Public Notice 3, returns to the Art Institute of Chicago’s Grand Staircase this fall after a 14-year hiatus.

Initially unveiled on September 11, 2010, the work connects two significant historical events separated by 108 years: the First World Parliament of Religions which began on September 11, 1893, and the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. At the earlier event, the World Parliament of Religions, held in what is now the museum’s Fullerton Hall, a young Hindu monk, Swami Vivekananda electrified audiences with a powerful speech calling for an end to religious fundamentalism, intolerance, and bigotry. 

Public Notice 3

Visitors experience Public Notice 3 in its inaugural installation on the Woman’s Board Grand Staircase


This very speech forms the basis of Kallat’s work, as the staircase risers are illuminated by Vivekananda’s words in five alternating colors—red, orange, yellow, blue, and green. These colors, borrowed from the decade-long advisory system of the US Department of Homeland Security following the attacks of 9/11, formed a spectrum denoting terrorism threat levels—from red for severe to green for low. Kallat transforms this motif of public vigilance into a radiant signal, reflecting Swami Vivekananda’s timeless and urgent plea for tolerance and universal acceptance.

Jitish Kallat: Public Notice 3 is curated by Madhuvanti Ghose, Alsdorf Associate Curator of Indian, Southeast Asian, and Himalayan Art, Arts of Asia.

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