Jim Sanborn Light Sculpture – A,A

The official name of this artwork is A,A. Artist Jim Sanborn took more than a year to complete the work, and it is composed of portions of poems, novels and prose written in many different languages, including Chinese, Spanish, Russian and Arabic.

Located on the University of Houston campus, the sculpture is most interesting after dark, when a projector casts lights through the copper and bronze piece, causing the text to appear on the outside walls of the M.D. Anderson Library.

The project was completed in 2004, and cost nearly a quarter of a million dollars. In addition to A,A, the library contains two other pieces by Jim Sanborn. In the library’s third-floor reading room, bronze panels display portions of poems and other literature, and a 24-ft. bronze scroll detailing the history of papermaking hangs from the ceiling to the first floor.

One of Sanborn’s most famous works, Kryptos, includes four encrypted messages. Three of the four have been deciphered, but the fourth remains a mystery. Kryptos is, appropriately, displayed on the grounds of the Langley, Virginia headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The A,A sculpture is located on the University of Houston campus, outside the M.D. Anderson Library. It is visible 24 hours a day, and there is no admission charge.

From downtown, take I-45 South to Spur 5 South. Turn right on University Drive (the first stoplight). To obtain a visitor parking permit, visit the Information Center at Entrance 1 on University Dr. or the Information Center on Cullen Blvd near the Athletics/Alumni Facility.

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