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Nasher Sculpture Center Goes Walking to the Sky
Walking to the Sky, created by internationally renowned artist Jonathan Borofsky.

DALLAS, TX.- The Nasher Sculpture Center added a new work to its award-winning sculpture garden. Walking to the Sky, created by internationally renowned artist Jonathan Borofsky, will rise out of the ground at a 75-degree angle and soar 100 feet into the sky, towering 75 feet above the trees and building at the Center. On loan from the artist, this dramatic work will be on view at the Center for a year. Its only other installation occurred last September at New York’s Rockefeller Center.

Walking to the Sky features a group of seven figures of different races, ages, and genders walking briskly up the stainless steel pole toward the sky. Made of painted fiberglass, this group is observed by three other figures standing around the pole at ground level. The work was originally inspired by a story Borofsky’s father told him as a child about a friendly giant who lived in the sky. During each tale, father and son would imagine walking to the sky and visiting with the giant, discussing what should be done to help everyone on earth. As Borofsky noted, “the sculpture is a celebration of the human potential for discovering who we are and where we need to go.”

“Jonathan Borofsky is known for his highly abstracted figures that are both formally strong and fascinating from a narrative point of view,” said Dr. Steven Nash, Director of the Nasher Sculpture Center. “He creates tableaus of Everyman and Everywoman that people of all backgrounds find accessible and enjoyable. Walking to the Sky is just such a work.”

In the past, Borofsky has focused his work mainly on individual figures or small groups of two or three, including such signature sculptures as Hammering Man and Singing Man. In Walking to the Sky, he continues his ongoing exploration of human ideals, dream life, and fantasy while expanding to a larger compositional group. He says about this work, “It is all of humanity rising upwards from the earth to the heavens above – striving into the future with strength and determination…. We are all learning to be free and ultimately this sculpture is a symbol of our collective search for wisdom and awakened consciousness.”

Now known for humanizing grand private and public spaces with monumental installations, Borofsky’s earliest works were much more introverted and hermetic. While living in New York in the late 1960s, he began counting for hours each day. Writing the numbers on paper, he would often invent personal doodles and include these in the number sequences. Some of the doodles he eventually translated into larger paintings and drawings, and his system of numbering objects became a code for his signature.

The works that brought him to public attention and acclaim, however, were complex gallery installations that wove different materials and media – paintings, drawings, sculptures, sound, mechanized movement – into engrossing cacophonies of images and impressions. Frequently Borofsky extracted iconic figures or images out of these installations and reworked them into individual art works, giving birth to such well-known sculptures and paintings as the Hammering Man, Chattering Man, I Dreamed I Could Fly, and Running Man. Over the past two decades, Borofsky has concentrated on developing his personalized imagery of human life into large-scale public commissions, built with such materials as steel, aluminum, stained glass, and colored light, that grace and energize interior and exterior spaces around the world.

Raymond Nasher, renowned collector and founder of the Nasher Sculpture Center, has long been interested in Borofsky’s work. “My late wife Patsy and I started collecting Jonathan’s work back in the early 1980s,” he said, “and we now have about twenty sculptures, prints, and paintings in the collection. He is one of the most significant artists of this generation, and I particularly admire the way he can work on a monumental scale and still make objects with wit, spirit, and meaning.”

Several additional Borofsky sculptures and paintings from the Nasher Collection will be on display at the Center. A 20-foot-high version of Hammering Man and the White Flying Figure with Numbers are currently on view at the Nasher Sculpture Center, and Five Hammering Men can be seen at NorthPark Center, a Nasher commercial property in Dallas.

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