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Any DC art lover will rec­og­nize Jim San­born’s mys­te­ri­ous totems. His first one, Kryp­tos (1990), which he made for the Cen­tral In­tel­li­gence Agency’s head­quar­ters in Lan­g­ley, Vir­ginia, fea­tures four coded texts ar­ranged in a quad­rant of panels. (Three of the artist’s four codes have been de­crypted, but one still stymies would-be de­ci­pher­ers.) For that piece, he cut let­ters out of cop­per us­ing a jig­saw for two and a half years. For his more re­cent works— which he refers to as “pro­jec­tion cylin­ders”—he em­ploys wa­ter­jets and pro­to­typ­ing tech­nol­ogy. Lin­gua (2003) fea­tures four texts that chron­i­cle, among other things, a ren­dezvous of French fur trap­pers, as well as a wa­ter bat­tle scene reen­acted by or­der of Julius Cae­sar. “I choose the text, but I of­fer a se­lec­tion of texts, and I en­cour­age clients to add some­thing, usu­ally,” San­born says. “I have my own fonts that have been sten­ciled so that the cen­ters of the let­ters won’t fall out.” Lo­cated in the Grand Lobby.

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