Take a Tour
If you visit the UC Davis central campus, chances are you'll walk past one of artist and UC Davis Professor Robert Arneson's Egghead bronze sculptures. Since they began appearing on campus in 1991, the works of art have caught the attention — and often hit the funny bone — of visitors as well as the campus community.
According to his widow, Sandra Shannonhouse, people viewing Arneson’s work should look beyond what seems to be “edgy, naughty or funny” to find more serious comments about political, social and economic issues. In the case of The Egghead Series, created by one of our most famous professors specifically for UC Davis, the fun is to figure out for yourself what Arneson was saying about life at the university.
Arneson's Egghead series is scattered across the UC Davis campus; some of the sculptures are tucked away and difficult to find. Use this tour to help you track them down.
Also, read about the first Egghead Music Walk, held March 15, 2013, with members of the St. Louis Symphony performing music by UC Davis composers, each of whom wrote a piece for a particular Egghead or two.
Ready to start your tour? (Use the directions at the right to get to the start.)
1. See No Evil/Hear No Evil
After leaving the South Entry parking lot, walk north on Mrak Hall Drive, passing the Mondavi Center for Performing Arts on your left and the Buehler Alumni Center on your right. Cross over the Arboretum Waterway, and you will see a grass circle on this street with two Eggheads trying to communicate. This is See No Evil/Hear No Evil.
Reinstalled: November 2009
Description: Two Eggheads face each other on adjacent grassy knolls speaking out of the corners of their mouths, but both lack ears.
Factoid: Originally installed across the street in May 1994, the sculptures were moved to the grassy circle in front of Mrak Hall to make room for the law school expansion.
2. Eye on Mrak (Fatal Laff)
Just north of See No Evil/Hear No Evil is the campus's main administration building, Mrak Hall. If it is open, cut through the building to the north entrance, where you'll see a single, unblinking eye staring at you from the bald head of Eye on Mrak (Fatal Laff). Don't forget to look at the sculpture from the other side once you've walked past it on Mrak Mall.
Installed: May 1994
Description: The upside-down head points away from the administration building, laughing. On the back of the head, a single eye stares at Mrak Hall.
Factoid: By far, this is the most popular Egghead that people choose to photograph, often with themselves in the picture.
Continue down the long, grassy corridor to Hutchison Drive. Cross it carefully, looking out for bicyclists, and you'll find yourself at Shields Library, where Bookhead is prominently displayed on the entrance patio. If you're here during finals week, you'll see many students doing their best impression of the ceramic scholar.
Installed: October 1991
Description: The head is face-down, with a furrowed brow and its nose buried in an open book.
Factoids: Bookhead is the only sculpture of the five that is painted a different color (a light blue); it was made from a slightly tougher enamel. Students kiss the sculpture for good luck.
4. Yin & Yang
Now, turn around and head back to Hutchison Drive where you will turn left. After walking east about 150 yards, on the south side of the street you'll come upon the Art/Music/Theatre complex, with the colorful Wright Hall and Main Theatre in the center. Yin & Yang is located in the front courtyard.
Description: Two Eggheads — one, with eyes closed, is speaking. The other head is lying on its ear with the back of its head facing the speaker.
Factoids: A replica of Yin & Yang sits on the Embarcadero in San Francisco (that's because the Arneson estate owns the Eggheads, and considers each piece an edition). Yin & Yang lend themselves to many photos and as being a background for performance art.
To reach the final Egghead, head north from Wright Hall. Cross Hutchison Drive and follow the sidewalk that runs past a bike parking area to the west and Olson Hall to the east. You'll end up at a bike circle at the intersection of East Quad and Shields Avenue. Cross Shields Avenue (again watching out for bicyclists) and continue north on East Quad, passing the brown shingled South Hall. Immediately after South Hall, turn right into a courtyard with a circular fountain and look to your left. Stargazer will be about 30 yards ahead of you.
Installed: May 1994
Description: The head is staring straight up with a slight smile on its face.
Factoid: Stargazer, with its idealistic gaze toward the heavens, is located close to East Gate (look to the east on the same lawn for a brick wall), the original entrance to UC Davis in 1908.
Well done! You've finished the tour. Now you can head over to East Quad down the path north of Stargazer, cross the street and make your way to the Coffee House to grab a snack before heading home.