Artist Builds Parthenon Out Of Books

Some artists boast unusual styles–take the pixel painter who creates portraits out of virtually anything. Others, like Michelangelo, are famous for their grandeur. Artist Marta Minujin is definitely (and literally) making it big, having built a Parthenon using 100,000 books.

Minujín… didn’t just erect that 45-foot-tall structure anywhere. Rather, she chose to build it in the town of Kassel, Germany — and more specifically a plaza called Friedrichsplatz. It was there that, in 1933, members of the Nazi Party burned approximately 2,000 books.

During the “Campaign Against the Un-German Spirit,”… Nazis attempted to do away with any… works… they saw as “un-German” or having corruptive Jewish or “decadent” qualities. During this campaign, the Nazis burned thousands of works of literature that they deemed degenerate or subversive.

Not only did Minujin take months to build the Parthenon–she had to identify 170 banned and censored books. Now that’s symbolism for you. Minujin had also constructed a book-thenon in the 80s following the fall of the military junta in Argentina.

By building these Parthenons, Minujín says she seeks to highlight one thing: that the open exchange of ideas — not their suppression — is the key to building a stable democratic state.

Minujin’s art is a true testament to literature. And who knows? We may run into another Parthenon in the near future.

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