Cephlapod 5

  • David Gilhooly, Cephlapod 5, 1971, white earthenware and glazes, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David K. Anderson, Martha Jackson Memorial Collection, 1980.137.30

Cephlapod 5 shows David Gilhooly’s interest in the sea. As a child, Gilhooly and his family lived for a time in the Virgin Islands and he dreamed of becoming a marine biologist. The artist believes that animals can evoke emotional responses without the viewer being aware of it. Cephalopods are an ancient group of marine mollusks that appeared millions of years before the first primitive fish began swimming in the ocean. Indeed, Cephlapod 5 looks slimy and repulsive, as though the primordial creature just crawled out of the sea.

Animals are strong totemic-type symbols … Historically, a totem was an animal or plant with which man could claim blood kinship. In our contemporary sense, a totem is something that means something to us and elicits a reaction we’re not even conscious of.” David Gilhooly, interview with Jane Goodman in Sacramento Magazine, November 1979
Cephlapod 5
4 144 146 34 in. (10.810.817.1 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David K. Anderson, Martha Jackson Memorial Collection

Mediums Description
white earthenware and glazes
  • Animal – fish
Object Number
Linked Open Data
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