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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 this piece consciously refers to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech from 1963. More than four decades later, Gilhooly echoes these words ironically to convey a sense of doom in this apocalyptic scene. While Gilhooly created his first frog work as a student in the 1960s, over the course of his career he has sculpted an entire civilization comprised entirely of frogs. Here, however, the frog world meets a catastrophic end as demons emerge from molten craters on a globe balanced atop a classical column.

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

Sara Morris

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