building across the street, at Van Buren and Michigan, that Daniel Burnham and John Wellborn Root designed for them little more than a decade before.
During the course of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, the Art Institute building was headquarters for the World Congress Auxiliary and a 17-day-long Parliament of the World's Religions. On opening day, a young Hindu monk rose to speak, and created a sensation with a talk on religious tolerance that would make him one of the century's most famous religious leaders.
29-minute documentary on the Swami. It's free with museum admission.
The date of the Swami's speech? September 11th, the same day the jets crashed into the twin World Trade Center towers 108 years later. In 2010, artist Jitish Kallat created an extraordinary artwork, Public Notice 3, that inscribed Swami Vivekenanda's words on the risers of the Art Institute's monumental staircase.
On the great stair of the Art Institute, fear and hope stream beneath your feet in color and light.