Captain George Vancouver Julia Butler Hansen Carlos Bulosan Ernestine Anderson Kurt Cobain Bill Gates & Paul Allen Home
Search Encyclopedia
Facebook
Advanced Search
Featured Eassy Sponsor of the Week Book Store Donate Now
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
6870 HistoryLink.org essays now available      
Donate Subscribe

Shortcuts

Libraries
Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search

Features

Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Everett
Olympia
Seattle
Spokane
Tacoma
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Timeline Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Art-warfare guerrillas attach ball-and-chain to Hammering Man on Labor Day, September 6, 1993.

HistoryLink.org Essay 3542 : Printer-Friendly Format

On Labor Day, September 6, 1993, art-warfare guerrillas attach a 700-pound ball-and-chain to Hammering Man, the 48-foot-tall metal sculpture by Jonathan Borofsky that sits in front of the Seattle Art Museum. The prank is a statement about the oppression of working people.

A 12-member group led by Subculture Joe, later identified as Jason Sprinkle (1969-2005), fabricated a six-foot sheet-metal ball, 19 feet in circumference. It was attached to nine links of chain made of plate steel and a five-foot shackle. The shackle was lined with industrial rubber to prevent damage to the sculpture. Two days later, on Wednesday September 8, the Seattle Engineering Department removed it.

On October 22, 1993, the ball-and-chain was auctioned by Allied Arts at the request of the Seattle Arts Commission at the Stouffer Madison Hotel as part of a fundraiser for the Job Corps. In order to fit through the ballroom doors, the ball-and-chain had to be deformed by ramming it with a truck. The slightly dented guerrilla art was purchased for $1,300 by two collectors from Tacoma, who planned to display it in a building there.

During the week of the auction, vandals painted socks on Hammering Man and spray-painted "Made in USA" on the wall of the Seattle Art Museum.

Subculture Joe (or Jason Sprinkle) was in the news a few years later when he parked a pickup truck containing a heart-shaped, red metal sculpture in Seattle's Westlake Park at 4th Avenue and Pine Street. Words painted on the truck led some to believe that the truck contained a bomb, and police evacuated a nine-block area. Sprinkle was later arrested.

On May 16, 2005, Jason Sprinkle was killed when he was hit by a freight train in Long Beach, Mississippi, where he was visiting his aunt and looking for work. There were no witnesses and it is unclear how this happened.

Sources:
Ronald K. Fitter, "No Subtlety In The 700-Pound Statement Of Guerrillas Art-Fare," The Seattle Times, September 7, 1993, p. B-1; Mark Williams, "Freed At Last, Ball-And-Chain Finds New Home," Ibid., October 23, 1993, p. A-1; Jean Godden, "Hammering Man Hit By Vandals," Ibid., October 22, 1993, p. B-1; Sheila Farr, "Subculture Joe Staged Guerrilla Art Events," The Seattle Times, May 24, 2005, website accessed May 24, 2005 (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/home/).
Note: This essay was updated on May 26, 2005, and the date was corrected to September 6 (not 7) on August 14, 2007.


Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Related Topics: Visual Arts | Organizations |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You




Hammering Man (Jonathan Borofsky, 1991), Seattle, 2001
Photo by David Wilma


 
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search

HistoryLink.org is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM)
HistoryLink.org is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email admin@historylink.org