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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Best Egghead: Bookhead

The egg-shaped sculpture in front of Shields Library takes the win

By JACOB ANDERSON — features@theaggie.org

Professor Robert Arneson’s “Egghead” sculptures remain some of the most memorable art installations on campus. The seven round, friendly-looking faces can be found in myriad locations across the school, and many students have no trouble naming the one they like most. As their favorite, 49.6% of respondents to this year’s Best of Davis survey chose “Bookhead,” which can be found in front of Shields Library.

“It just has good vibes,” said Kim Volkmann, a second-year economics major. “You can tell how serious learning is for it. It’s inspiring.”

Volkmann wasn’t the only one to notice Bookhead’s hard-working, scholarly attitude: Leila Madani, a second-year food science major, said that the placement of the sculpture “made a lot of sense.”

Bookhead outside of Shields Library (Kayla Bruckman/ The Aggie)

“It’s the kind of art you want for a library,” Madani said. “I don’t know why, but I definitely like it.”

The sculpture certainly seems to have a unique quality, but students don’t always agree on what it is. When asked about what sets Bookhead apart from the other Eggheads, Tyler Serrano, a fourth-year biology major, pointed out one distinct feature: “You can’t see his face. All the other ones — like the one near the law school — you can see their faces, and they look kind of weird. You can’t see this guy’s face at all, so he doesn’t intimidate anyone like the others do.”

As to why the other Eggheads might intimidate students, Serrano said that they seem to be experiencing “weird emotions. I wouldn’t want to talk to somebody who was making a face like that at me.”

The Eggheads, which have been raising spirits on campus since 1991, are some of the final projects finished by Arneson, who was a UC Davis faculty member for four decades before his death in 1992. The sculptures are his legacy on campus, and, while students might not agree on what makes them so special, the fact remains that the Eggheads are a staple of campus culture.

Written by: Jacob Anderson — features@theaggie.org



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