Marta Minijín, a conceptual artist from Argentina, is building a Parthenon of Books. The monument, which will include more than 100,000 banned books, will be a “symbol of resistance to any banning of writings and the persecution of their authors.”
The building will be erected in Kassel, Germany’s Friedrichsplatz Park where Nazi party members burned an estimated 2,000 books in 1933. It will be unveiled June 10, 2017 at the opening of the art fair documenta 14 and will be on view for 100 days.
The Parthenon of Books was inspired by one of Marta’s previous installations “El Partenón de libros.” It was created in 1983, shortly after the collapse of the civilian-military dictatorship in Argentina. The work included the books that had been banned by the dictatorship. After five days of exhibition, the books were removed and handed out to the public. Marta has similar plans for the books in her new Parthenon.
“Democracy without books is not democracy,” says Marta. And we couldn’t agree more. Although the project will be presented in Germany, censorship is a global issue. Even today, there are books that are continuously targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools across the United States. The American Library Association works to promote these challenged books so that they remain available and accessible to all. The organization has already donated books to Marta’s project including works by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and Jeff Smith, as well as “Two Boys Kissing” by David Levithan, which has been one of the most-challenged books in the past couple of years, despite being named to the National Book Award Longlist.
Right now, Marta needs books. The artist has been working with educators and students to assemble a list of currently and once-banned books for the exhibition and is looking for donations from all over the world. For more information on how to get involved and donate books, click here.
Stay tuned for updates.
All images via Marta Minijín. Lead image is a small model of the planned Parthenon of Books building.