Williams Center Gallery

Jim Sanborn offers a glimpse into the antiquities trade in Cambodia, a country whose heritage sites are subject to a global market of looted and forged artifacts, and asks whether a more ethical kind of collecting can be fostered in the 21st century. Sanborn offers an intriguing proposal: to make what he describes as “high-end reproductions “or “contemporary antiquities” available to collectors in place of ancient artworks. Sanborn works with master Cambodian forgers to produce sandstone reproductions of 8th through 13th century Khmer sculptures that are indistinguishable from genuine artifacts. Can these newly created works fulfill the desire of collectors and thereby stop theft and looting? The artist exhibits these contemporary antiquities as they might be displayed at auction house previews. As the viewer becomes aware that the beautiful artifacts are not centuries-old, questions arise: What is the market value? What is the nature of collecting and connoisseurship? Consider for yourself whether Sanborn’s experiment might be capable of effecting positive change in an industry shadowed by illicit and destructive practices.