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. Standing at 48 feet tall, the Hammering Man catches the eye of any nearby pedestrians walking past the Seattle Art Museum as he hammers on. The large steel and aluminum motorized structure was built in 1991 by Jonathan Borofsky, a world renowned artist, sculptor and printmaker. Born in 1942 in Boston Massachusetts, Jonathan was raised in a very artistic family. Creativity was always encouraged by his mother (Sydney Borofsky, a musician and music teacher) and his father (Frances Borofsky, an artist, architect, and art gallery owner). He grew up moving around various states in the Northeast United States including Maine, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, 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 perceptive 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 metal 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 to represent the working class. It displayed the daily struggle or “grind” of the people running the world from behind the scenes. It gave a voice to the people putting in their work to help run our communities, the people doing the dirty work that the rich people don’t have to. The food stamps, the day-to-day struggle of being on the lower end of the economy. The "many", not the "few". The general populous. The people working for "the man". At first people weren’t really sure what they thought about it. They didn’t understand the message he was trying to display and they were confused. Once the true meaning behind the Hammering Man was clear to the public it became a very well liked art piece and has since cemented itself as a pillar of Seattle’s artwork. Jonathan created several of these Hammering Men around the world. One of the few being in Seattle, the third largest one (behind the largest being in Seoul, and the second largest being in Frankfurt).
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