Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Thursday, December 2

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Art Wed Nov 24 2010

Art Institute Exhibit Lights a Path, Literally

staircase.jpgIf you've walked through the front doors of the Art Institute recently, you've seen a bright and interesting new temporary exhibit; in fact, there was no way you could have missed it. The entire Grand Staircase is lit up like a giant Lite-Brite, and will remain so until May 1, thanks to an eye-catching and decidedly political installation by Jitish Kallat, entitled Public Notice 3.

The installation, which was unveiled on September 11 of this year, presents the text of a speech given at the Art Institute on that date in 1893 by Swami Vivekananda. The speech, which was presented in conjunction with the World's Fair, is a plea for religious tolerance and respect; Kallat reproduces the words in the colors of the Homeland Security alert system, not-so-subtly alluding to the politics of religious fanaticism that have been so present in world events since September 11, 2001.

The work, Kallat's first major presentation in an American museum, is at once exuberant and sobering; the initial effect seems playful and happy, yet the political implications, evident only after walking the steps to observe the installation in its entirety, are biting. Vivekananda's words feel current, despite being written over a century ago.

Regardless of your take on modern art, installations, or politics, Kallat's stairs are worth a visit. Of course, you'll need to climb the steps to experience the work in its entirety. Once you're on the second floor, you'll have plenty of time to mull over the Swami's words while roaming the vast European Renaissance collection.

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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