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Press Release

Teresa Thomas

Eric Sloss

For immediate release:
May 17, 2006

Carnegie Mellon University Installs Alumnus Jonathan Borofsky's "Walking to the Sky"

Jonathan Borofsky's "Walking to the Sky" was installed in front of Warner Hall just off Forbes Avenue. Borofsky says the 100-foot-tall sculpture "reflects Carnegie Mellon's 21st century effort to bring new forms of art and architecture to campus."

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University has installed "Walking to the Sky," a 100-foot-tall, seven-ton sculpture created by internationally renowned alumnus Jonathan Borofsky (A'64), on its campus in front of Warner Hall just off Forbes Avenue. The sculpture is a gift from Carnegie Mellon Trustee Jill Gansman Kraus (A'74) and her husband, Peter Kraus, of New York City.

"Walking to the Sky," first seen in the U.S. in New York City's Rockefeller Center, is the latest work in Borofsky's ongoing exploration of universal human forms. The sculpture depicts a little girl, businesswoman, young man and several other individuals scaling a soaring 100-foot-tall stainless steel pole. Three people are looking upward from the base of the pole, which points to the east at a 75-degree angle.

A worker attaches one of the seven figures on the 100-foot-tall stainless steel pole.

"Borofsky's 'Walking to The Sky' is such an optimistic piece of work. To me, it says something about being ambitious, aiming high and the sky's the limit," said Hilary Robinson, the Stanley and Marcia Gumberg Dean of the College of Fine Arts and chair of Carnegie Mellon's Public Art Committee, which recommended the installation site. "I think all of those messages are absolutely right for this university and what we do here."

"This is an inspiring work of art by one of our most acclaimed graduates," said Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon. "We are delighted that it has come to our campus, and are grateful to Jonathan Borofsky and to Jill and Peter Kraus for making this possible."

The piece was 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 artist says the sculpture is "a celebration of the human potential for discovering who we are and where we need to go."

A crane and a 100-foot manlift were used to erect the sculpture on Monday, May 15.
Borofsky has had more than 35 large-scale sculptures installed in major cities around the world, including Tokyo; Berlin; Munich, Germany; Seoul, Korea; New York; Baltimore; Denver; Minneapolis, Minn.; Los Angeles and Seattle. "'Walking to the Sky' is a portrait of all of humanity rising upward from the earth to the heavens above — striving into the future with strength and determination," he said. "Ultimately, this sculpture is a symbol for our collective search for wisdom and awakened consciousness."

He also said the sculpture "reflects Carnegie Mellon's 21st century effort to bring new forms of art and architecture to campus."

Born in Boston in 1942, Borofsky earned his bachelor's degree in fine arts from Carnegie Mellon in 1964 and his master's degree from Yale University's School of Art & Architecture in 1966. From 1970 to 1990, he created complex art installations incorporating paintings, sculpture, sound and video in numerous galleries and museums around the world, including the Whitney Museum in New York City; the Kunst Museum in Basel, Switzerland; the Monderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden; the Israel Museum in Jerusalem; the Philadelphia Museum and the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art.

In 1985, Borofsky co-produced and directed an hour-long video documentary, "Prisoners," featuring interviews with prisoners from San Quentin Prison and the California Institution for Women. The documentary was shown in the U.S., Germany and Japan, and is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Since 1990, Borofsky has produced several outdoor sculptures that have become landmarks in their respective cities, including the 100-foot-tall "Molecule Man" in Berlin's Spree River; the 70-foot-tall "Hammering Man" in Frankfurt, Germany; and the 80-foot-tall "Woman Walking to the Sky" in Strasbourg, France.

Artist Jonathan Borofsky gets a figure portraying a woman of Asian descent ready to be placed on the pole.

Borofsky will be among several individuals receiving honorary Ph.D.s from Carnegie Mellon at the university's commencement on May 21.

For more information on Borofsky and/or the sculpture, contact Teresa Thomas at 412-268-2900 or; or Eric Sloss at 412-268-5765 or


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