James Sanborn

James Sanborn

Paleos, 1994

Limestone, fossilized ripple sandstone, petrified tree, projection


Gift of Boris Magasanik and Friends in Memory of Adele Magasanik

James Sanborn has a background in paleontology, archaeology, and social anthropology, as well as fine arts. His works frequently deal with hidden messages, such as codes within natural materials as well as those created by humans. His public installations reflect the activities of the site’s occupants.

Paleos contains references to the scientific work being conducted in the Biology building, integrating natural materials as architectural elements with the space. Rough-cut limestone blocks cover the wall, framing a band of fossilized seabed. Sections of a petrified tree form a column. Benches formed of rough slabs of green quartz create a viewing area around a white marble disc. The disc is meant to be a projection site for images relating to current biological research, selected and periodically changed by scientists in the building. The title suggests not only ancient roots of life, but also its scientific study, analysis, and contemplation.

Building Number: 68

Accession Number: PFA.1994.001