Artist biography

American sculptor, painter and draughtsman. As a child he accompanied his mother, a trained architect, to weekly painting classes, where he was encouraged to draw freely and not in a traditional manner. He studied at Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA (BFA, 1962) and at Yale School of Art and Architecture, New Haven, CT (MFA, 1966), where his work was mainly sculptural. From the early 1970s his central concern was to diminish the boundaries between life and art. From 1973 he made use of dreams, in drawings, paintings, sculptures, projected images, prints, and finally combinations of these in multi-media installations. Borofsky first exhibited at the Artists' Space, New York (1973), showing Counting (1969–), a serial project comprising a stack of sheets of graph paper (220×280 mm), on which numbers from 1 to c. 1,800,000 were written in pencil and ink. An ongoing project, it continued to reappear in later shows under a tailor-made perspex box; by September 1993 the numbers reached 3,200,000 and the stack c. 1.28 m high. These characteristic numbers also appeared on the back of Flags, for which Borofsky painted the flags of the world, with the name of each country printed under its flag; the work also included a large (h. 3.65 m) sculpture of a man with a beating red perspex heart, his singularity contrasting with the numerous flags. One of his best-known images is the Hammering Man, which appeared in both two- and three-dimensional works, including a 3.65 m high sculpture with a motorised hammering arm.

J. Simon: ‘An Interview with Jonathan Borofsky', A. America, lxix/9 (Nov 1981), pp. 162–7
Jonathan Borofsky (exh. cat., essays by M. Rosenthal and R. Marshall; Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A.; New York, Whitney; Berkeley, U. CA, A. Mus., and elsewhere; 1984–5) [good photos of installations, some related by artist's notes to dreams]
Horizons: Jonathan Borofsky (exh. cat., with an essay by D. E. Scott; Kansas City, MO, Nelson–Atkins Mus. A., 1988)

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