The UC Davis Eggheads

Take a walking tour

If you visit the UC Davis central campus, chances are you'll walk past one of artist 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. (See samples of our 2007 photo contest on the right.)

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. You can also click on any of the Egghead photos on the left to see a photo gallery of the five sculpture sets.

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.

Getting to campus

From Interstate 80, take exit 71 toward UC Davis and turn north onto Old Davis Road, at the traffic circle, continue straight. Just past the bright orange Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Studies on your right (the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts will be ahead of you on the left), turn right on Hilgard Lane and park in the South Entry Parking Structure or in the parking lot behind. There is a fee for parking.

Photo: See No Evil/Hear No Evil

See No Evil/Hear No Evil

After leaving the parking lot, walk north on Mrak Hall Drive, passing the Mondavi Center on your left and the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center on your right. Cross a bridge 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.

Photo: Eye on Mrak (Fatal Laff)

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 and check out the great photos in the lobby. When you leave the building on the north side, 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.

Photo: Bookhead

Bookhead

Continue down the long, grassy corridor to a main street. This is 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 touch the sculpture for good luck.

Photo: Yin & Yang

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.

Installed: 1992

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). Also, Yin & Yang lend themselves to many photos and as being a background for performance art.

Photo: Stargazer

Stargazer

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 farmland that became UC Davis in 1908.

You've finished the tour. Now you can go 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 returning to the parking lot.

Supplemental content

'The Egghead Music Walk'

Video: The Egghead Music Walk

Videography by Anna Oh/AggieTV
(2 min 51 sec)

“Hatch a photo” contest (2007)

View highlights created by our community photographers.

Find the Eggheads with our map

Map: Tour the Eggheads

Click on the map for the full view.