Jonathan Borofsky is a contemporary American artist best known for his site-specific sculptures, colored lithographs, and screenprints. Known for combining media and juxtaposing seemingly contrasting imagery, the artist’s works engage in esoteric ideas surrounding dreams, labor, tragedy, and numbers as catalysts for his ambitious projects. He began creating prints in the early-80s that reflect the subject matter of his monumental sculptural work.
Born on December 24, 1942 in Boston, MA, Borofsky received his BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in 1964 and his MFA from Yale University in 1966 before moving to New York. There, he met the Conceptual artist Sol Lewitt, who served as a mentor and lasting influence on Borofsky’s practice. In 1977, a teaching position took him to California Institute of the Arts.
In his public sculpture Walking to the Sky (2004), a 100-foot steel pole slants upwards with figures striding vertically towards the sky in a poetic depiction of humanity’s desire to explore and understand the universe. “I am constantly amazed by the thought that our planet is one of billions of planets spinning around at thousands of miles per second in a galaxy which is one of billions of galaxies—all in motion,” Borofsky mentioned when describing the work. “What I am trying to talk about here is the enormity of this organic unknown whole that we find ourselves part of.”
Borofsky initially made his reputation with bold and playful works that had an underlying philosophical edge. An accomplished installation artist, Borofsky sees his practice as being and endless search to connect, even with his simplest work he wants to be “connected to the Whole”.
His works are in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Kunstmuseum Basel, among others. He has completed major permanent sculptural commissions from around the works, including Hammering Man in Seoul, Korea, Frankfurt, Germany, Minneapolis, Minnesota and New York City; Ballerina Clown in Venice, California; Molecule Man in Berlin, Germany; Male/Female in Baltimore, Maryland; and Walking to the Sky on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.