I learned about this statue thanks to Jane Sancinito on Twitter. And I decided to use it to start a discussion in my next Myth Class this coming Tuesday. Once I’d written it up on the private LMS for my students, I realized it would also be convenient to have a public url, hence this post.
On May 25 1968 this statue, a plaster cast of the head of Athena from a statue in the Louvre, was standing in a university building, when the city of Bordeaux, was taken over by student protests, that had swept all of France. “The movement which brought the country to a standstill had begun with a series of student occupations in protest against capitalism, consumerism, traditional institutions and the political regime. This then spread to workers across all walks of life who called for better wages, improved working conditions and more empowerment.” (Source – with longer history of events). One of the leaders of these protests is today a prominent EU politician. The piece is still on display in the local museum with a label that describes when it was vandalized, but not why.
If you’re interested in statues and protests, I recommend the recent book, Smashing Statues, by another CUNY professor, Erin Thompson.