The Parthenon in Athens is more than a building, a ruin, and architectural inspiration—it’s one of the most powerful symbols of democracy and free thought. That’s why Argentine artist Marta Minujín decided to rebuild a full-scale replica of the Parthenon—out of banned books.
Thousands of people from around the world donated some 100,000 censored books that were personally meaningful to them—ranging from Einstein’s The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity to Stephenie Meyers’ Twilight series. The books were then affixed to a steel scaffold in the shape of the Parthenon using plastic wrap—to protect them from the elements so that people can take the books home with them once the installation ends at the conclusion of Documenta 14 art festival in Kassel, Germany.
The site of the installation is also a symbolic one: The Parthenon of Books was erected in a public square where Nazis burned an estimated 2,000 banned books on May 19, 1933 as part of the “Aktion wider den undeutschen Geist” (Campaign against the Un-German Spirit).
Today, the site is literally a temple of free thought and free books.