HTML Seattle Landmark Project
The History of The Hammering Man...
By Cooper Saling
The Hammering Man... one of the most iconic art pieces displayed in Seattle as well as one of the biggest.
(the Hammering Man statue in downtown Seattle in front of the Seattle Art Museum)
Standing at 48 feet tall, the Hammering Man catches the eye of any nearby pedestrians as he hammers on. The large steel and aluminum motorized structure was built in 1991 by Jonathan Borofsky, a world ronound artisit, sculptor and printmaker.
Born in 1942 in Boston Massachussets, Jonathan was raised in a very artistic family. Creativity was always encouraged from his mother (Sydney Borofsky, a musician and music teacher) and his father (Frances Borofsky, an artist, architect, and art galery owner). He grew up moving around various states in the Northeast United States including Maine, New York, New Jersey, Massachusets, and Maine (as well as a few others). After going to college in the 60s, his career as an artist finally began to take off. As a very creative, inventive and perseptive person, right away it was clear that he stood out from others, especially with his pieces. One of his most popular franchises was the Hammering Men.
He created various hammering statues depicting a male figure painted black crafting something in his hand with a hammer in the other. The hammering man was made as a symbol for the working class person. It represented the struggle of being on the lower end of the work force. The "many", not the "few". The general populous of the working class people. It was the symbol for working for "the man". It was at first a very controversial piece. Maany people were confused by the message of the hammering man at first, not knowing if it was a commentary on slavery or racial discrimination, if it was about the flaws of our eceonmy. Jonathan created several of these Hammering Men around the world. One of the few being in Seattle, the second largest one in fact (the largest being in Seoul, South Korea).
In the present day, the scandalous nature of the Hammering Man has since dissipated and this piece has cemented itself as a pillar of Seattle's citywide art gallery with many impressive pieces on display.
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