Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette #2 – Seattle Art Museum downtown: Hammering Man

This is my second post in response to Weekly Photo Challenge : Silhouette.

I took this picture some time ago when I went to Seattle for a conference.  After the conference, I stayed there for vacation for a few days.  One of the fun things I did  was to visit the museum.  As I had membership in another museum which gave me free admission to the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), I would not miss this opportunity.  In front of the museum was this tall sculpture -Hammering Man, by the sculptor Jonathan Borofsk.  As I took this picture against the sunlight, it became a silhouette.  I hope you will like it.  I found many images of the Hammering Man on-line.  It is interesting to note that although it is the same sculpture, I could not find two pictures that look exactly the same!  Mine is not too bad!  Don’t you think so?

If you are interested to know more about Hammering Man, here’s the information provided by Seattle Art Museum downtown Hammering Man

As a part of the City of Seattle’s public art program, The Seattle Arts Commission installed Hammering Man on September 12, 1992 at the entrance to the downtown Seattle Art Museum at First Avenue and University Streets.

“General Information

Jonathan Borofsky, American
Hammering Man, 1992
48′ x 30″ x 7″
hollow-fabricated steel, aluminum mechanized arm, electric motor, and black automotive paint.
Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs 1% for Art, city of Seattle. Funding provided by the Virginia Wright Fund in honor of Prentice Bloedel; Seattle City Light 1% for Art funds; the Museum Development Authority; and PONCHO (Patrons of Northwest Civic, Cultural and Charitable Organizations).


  • There are numerous Hammering Man sculptures of different sizes all over the world including New York, Los Angeles, Germany and Japan. Seattle’s is 48 feet high and weighs 26,000 pounds. EachHammering Man is marked with a unique number. Seattle’s is #3277164.
  • The Hammering Man‘s arm “hammers” silently and smoothly four times per minute from 7 am to 8 pm every day. It runs on a 3-hp electric motor set on an automatic timer. Hammering Man rests its arm each evening and every year on Labor Day.
  • The sculpture was fabricated by Lippincott, Inc.,North Haven, CT and installed by Fabrication Specialties, Seattle, WA.

About the Artist

Jonathan Borofsky was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1942. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in 1964, he studied at Ecole de Fontainbleau in Paris. In 1966 he received a Master’s degree from Yale School of Art and Architecture. Having lived and worked in New York and Los Angeles, he moved to Maine in 1992 to return to his roots on the East Coast. Over the years he has created a wide range of works in diverse materials but at the core of his endeavor lies the act of “Counting from One to Infinite,” which he began in 1969 and continues to the present. During the 1990s, he completed over 20 public art installations, including a 100-foot tall version of “Molecule Man” for the Allianz insurance company in Berlin. He has had a one-man exhibition at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York as well as at other important museums in the world. His major monumental sculptures can be viewed in Los Angeles, Kassel Germany, Basel Switzerland and other cities.

Artist Statement

“People in Seattle don’t live to work; they work to enjoy their lives.” Kirsti Jones, National Geographic

The Hammering Man is a worker. The Hammering Mancelebrates the worker. He or she is the village craftsman, the South African coal miner, the computer operator, the farmer or the aerospace worker-the people who produce the commodities on which we depend. This Hammering Man is 48 feet tall. It is constructed of steel (hollow-fabricated) and weighs over 20,000 pounds. A structural steel base-plate is bolted to a cement-block footing below ground level so that the architect’s chosen material for the plaza can be brought up to flush to the feet of the sculpture. The Hammering Manappears to be standing (and working) on the plaza without a base in between. The black silhouette of the figure is, in fact, 30 inches wide: body (10 inches), arm (10 inches), space between arm and body (10 inches), as well as an extra 16 inches width at the top for the motor. The motorized hammering arm will move smoothly and meditatively up and down at a rate of four times per minute. Electricity runs from the motor down inside the sculpture and under the plaza to an on-off switch location. The Hammering Man is set on a timer and rests during evening and early morning hours. The sculpture has been sited so that the many pedestrians and drivers moving up and down First Avenue can enjoy the animated form while contemplating the meaning of theHammering Man in their own lives.

This sculpture is the second largest Hammering Man on the planet. A taller version is in Frankfurt, Germany. My goal is to have several different Hammering Men placed around the world all working simultaneously. Other big outdoor versions of this work are in Japan and Switzerland. In the U.S. there are Hammering Men sculptures in New York, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Washington D.C., among other places. It is a concept which helps to connect all of us together and yet gives each specific Hammering Man site the potential for its own personal interpretations. The State of Washington is known for its aerospace, electronics, timber, fishing, agriculture, and gold mining industries-people working with their hands. Let this sculpture be a symbol for all the people of Seattle working with others on the planet to create a happier and more enlightened humanity.

I want this work to communicate to all the people of Seattle-not just the artists, but families, young and old. I would hope that children who see the Hammering Man at work would connect their delight with the potential mysteries that a museum could offer them in their future.

At its heart, society reveres the worker. The Hammering Man is the worker in all of us.

Jonathan Borofsky”

I wonder why the artist did not mention “coffee”, Star Bucks Coffee, which produced lots of work for the workers!

I did not take the video of the hand movements of the Hammering Man.  Here’s one that I found on You-Tube.    It seems that the Hammering Man is working very hard.   What about you?

Seattle Downtown -Hammering Man Sculpture Video

5 Comments Add yours

  1. eof737 says:

    WoW! The last time I was in Seattle, I stayed in a hotel across the street from the hammering man… 🙂

    1. friendlytm says:

      So you saw the man hammering all the time? I heard he rested on Labor Day!

  2. patriciaddrury says:

    My next trip to my hometown I will check out the Hammering Man!

    1. friendlytm says:

      Thank you for stopping by and your follow. Love the hammering man. Hope you will like it too when you go back to your hometown.

I appreciate your comments

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