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David James Gilhooly


Free At Last, Free At Last (Frog Demons Escaping the End of the World)

23 x 14 x 14 in. (58.42 x 35.56 x 35.56 cm)
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation

The title of Free At Last, Free At Last (Frog Demons Escaping the End of the World) consciously draws on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech from 1963. Over four decades later, Gilhooly recalls these words to ironically convey a sense of doom in this apocalyptic scene. While Gilhooly created his first frog work as a student in the 1960s, he sculpted an entire civilization comprised entirely of frogs over the course of his career. Here, however, Gilhooly’s frog world meets a catastrophic end as “frog demons” emerge from molten craters on a globe that balances on top of a classical column.

Born in 1943 in Auburn, California, Gilhooly’s interest in animals stemmed from his upbringing near the Virgin Islands. His family returned to California in the early 1950s, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in the 1960s from the University of California, Davis. Early in his artistic career, Gilhooly showed his work alongside those by his former teachers, Robert Arneson and William T. Wiley, in the exhibition Funk (1967) at the University of California, Berkeley, which featured sculptures made from unconventional art materials on a variety of absurd subjects.

Sara Morris

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