Outside the Seattle Museum of Art is a kinetic sculpture called Hammering Man. The man who lifts and lowers his hammer four times per minute is one of several Hammering Man sculptures by artist Jonathan Borofsky.
Through his Hammering Man statues, Borofsky’s aim is to pay tribute to the workers of the world, as well as, indicate that the world is linked together through our labors. The sculptures hammer away at the same time.
Borofsky’s sculptures, in a way, are an artist’s version of what Matt Harding demonstrates with his dancing. The same dance, but the location changes. (Read Jerry’s Talking Travel interview with Matt here.)
The Seattle version is the second largest of Borofsky’s Hammering Man creations. The largest is in Frankfurt, Germany. You can also see outside sculpture versions in Dallas, Texas; Seoul, Korea; and Basel, Switzerland. Other versions are in wood and are located at various museums.
Last summer, when we went to Seattle on the way to Montana, we passed this sculpture on a Seattle Duck’s tour of the city. At the time, I didn’t know that the piece was part of a larger concept and could not view the whole sculpture from where I was sitting. In order to see it, we drove back to the museum.
As Borofsky says about this particular work, “At its heart, society reveres the workers. The Hammering Man is the worker in all of us.”
The statue, and the others like it, seems fitting for a Labor Day shout out.