Jonathan Borofsky: Walking to the Sky

About the Exhibition

Walking to the Sky is the first-ever major outdoor work in New York City by Jonathan Borofsky (b.1942, Boston, MA). Walking to the Sky depicts a number of different people scaling a soaring 100-foot-tall stainless steel pole. The piece sprouts out of the ground like a contemporary counterpart to Jack’s fairytale beanstalk. The stainless steel pole tilts at an impossibly steep 75 degree angle, but several figures have undertaken the climb, striding purposefully upward, among them a little girl with pigtails, a businesswoman, a young man in a t-shirt, and several others. Three people stand at the bottom, looking up. The work is inspired by a story that Borofsky’s father used to tell him when he was a child about a friendly giant who lived in the sky. In each tale, father and son would travel up to the sky to talk to the giant about what needed to be done for everyone back on earth. The sculpture is, the artist says, a “celebration of the human potential for discovering who we are and where we need to go.”

Jonathan Borofsky’s large-scale sculptures—which include permanent outdoor commissions in Berlin, Minneapolis, Baltimore, and other cities around the world–depict the human form in simple, universally appealing ways. Walking to the Sky has two direct predecessors: Man Walking to the Sky, shown at Documenta IX in Kassel, Germany in 1992, and Woman Walking to the Sky, which Borofsky made for Strasbourg, France two years later. For this exhibition at Rockefeller Center, Borofksy has transformed these solo figures into a multitude. “It is all of humanity rising upwards from the earth to the heavens above-striving into the future with strength and determination.”



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