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The Kid Should See This

Marta Minujín’s ‘Parthenon’ of Banned Books, an installation in Kassel, Germany (2017)

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“In Kassel, Germany, at the very site where Nazis once burned over 2,000 books by Jewish and Marxist writers, one artist has built a colossal tribute to free speech. The “Parthenon of Books” is a giant temporary replica of the famous Greek temple in Athens. The installation is covered by more than 100,000 books that have been banned at various stages throughout history.

“Created by Argentine artist Marta Minujín, the exhibit is meant to spark debate over censorship in literature. Once the exhibition is over, these books will be handed out to allow the banned to enter literary circulation once more.”

Great Big Story visits Germany’s ‘Parthenon’ of Banned Books, a highlight of the 2017 documenta 14 art exhibition.

Parthenon of Banned Books at dusk
walking into the installation
The installation on Friedrichsplatz in Kassel—one of 34 locations throughout Germany where 1933’s infamous Aktion wider den undeutschen Geist or ‘Campaign against the Un-German Spirit’ took place—is a re-realization of Minujín’s El Partenón de libros 1983, a Buenos Aires-based temporary installation of 20,000 books that had been banned during the Argentinian military dictatorship.

Minujín’s El Partenón de libros 1983

From the Tate on the original installation:

“A monument to the restoration of democracy in her native country, Minujín’s public project was inaugurated on 19 December 1983, only one week after the restitution of democracy.”

On Sunday, September 10, 2017, Minujín redistributed the books from the Kassel installation, the project’s final act.

columns of banned books
See a bit of how it was assembled in this AFP clip, and enjoy the wordless video tour from VernissageTV below:

banned books

Watch more videos about history, civics, and books:
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• The Temple of Knowledge and what it’s like to grow up in a library
• How to Understand Power
• Notable Women, an AR app that adds 100 historic American women to U.S. currency
• Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love, read by Bella Noche for Storytime with The Met

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