Construction staff worked steadily through Friday morning and into the early afternoon to prepare for the arrival of Robert Arneson’s Eggheads, the well-recognized ceramic icons of UC Davis.
The two pieces, titled “See No Evil/Hear No Evil,” are now housed on the south side of Mrak Hall in Mrak Circle. They are part of a seven-piece collection.
Previously installed beside King Hall in 1994, the Eggheads were removed in 2008 to accommodate the law school’s $30 million expansion project, which commenced this year.
“[Arneson] dedicated his life to the university,” said Renny Pritikin, director of the Nelson Gallery on campus and official caretaker of the Eggheads. “Great universities have great professors, and he was one of the greatest. I take it very seriously to take good care of [the Eggheads].”
The Egghead collection, crafted in 1989, was among the last of Arneson’s works before his death in 1992. As a former UC Davis professor, Arneson was at the forefront of the Funk Movement – an art movement that involved the rejection of functional art pieces and shifted to the use of everyday objects to construct confrontational statements. The final Eggheads scattered across campus reflect this concept that Arneson actively promoted throughout his lifetime.
“Arneson redefined ceramic craft and was one of the most important artists of the 20th century,” Pritikin said. “He had somewhat of a rugged character and a disdain for seriousness. This last parting gift to the university came from this outlook on life.”
Those who attended the installment of the two Eggheads were permitted inside the fenced area of the construction site. Hard hats were provided to ensure the safety of onlookers.
“The Eggheads are the most beloved public art at UC Davis,” Pritikin said. “Students just love them. Other campuses could be considered generic, but the Eggheads make our campus special.”
REBECCA SHRAGGE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.