Photographer John Stamets (1949-2014) was standing on the roof of the Lusty Lady exotic dance parlor across 1st Avenue from the art museum with the aim of documenting the installation. Instead he captured dramatic images of the sculpture's tumble. Stamets had previously recorded the collapse of the University of Washington Husky Stadium's new bleachers in 1987, and for a time specialized in documenting doomed buildings and demolitions. In 1992 he joined the faculty at the University of Washington, serving for 22 years as a photographer and lecturer in the architecture department.
Hammering Man was commissioned by the Seattle Arts Commission and designed by Jonathan Borofsky who received $400,000 for the work. The piece features a motorized left arm which hammers four times a minute in honor of working people.
In September 1992, the repaired sculpture was reinstalled in front of the Seattle Art Museum at 1st Avenue and University Street in downtown Seattle.