Argent Paper

Griffin Beste

Artist Lecture Review

Logan Lecture

Lawrence Argent

I have never been to the Denver Art Museum for any other reason but to go through the actual exhibits and collections, so this was a first for me as far as going to see a local Coloradoan talk about his works in a more intimate setting than the personal biographies that are presented online.  At first I knew nothing really about Argent and his work, and I was surprised to learn a lot about his through both his introduction in class and his introduction at the lecture. I learned that he has done more than just the “big blue bear” outside of the convention center, and has created land art works in places like Vail, Aurora, and on campus at DU where he teaches, as well as Fort Collins. In his intro there was an introduction to his most well known pieces, which are considered land art. In Argents opinion land art is for people who do not go to galleries. I appreciated the introduction to his earlier work in the form of installations and the gradual introduction into his more grandiose works that he has in site-specific places.

It was interesting to me to learn that Argent was also a professor at DU where he made the piece that he titled, “”whispers”. This piece was made as a collaborative effort on campus with the help of actual students who attended the school. The piece was presented as large limestone benches with the imprints of students’ lips, which after they were cast in rubber mold, were modified into large limestone blocks, which are present on campus. The benches are activated when people sit on them, the sounds of a professor’s lecture or other audio is played through the speakers. This is a very involved work of art in which the audience gets to interact with and touch the piece and activate the sound just by sitting on the bench, as well as hearing the noises that come from it.

I really admired Argent’s sense of humor and appreciated the way he started off the lecture by joking about tattoos, and then referring to things that were comical in nature throughout the lecture. One of my favorite pieces of his was probably the one he used the big red street sweepers to create two hanging ovals, which he called, “cojones” this name and the nature of this piece made me laugh probably just because I am still immature at heart, somewhat. I also enjoyed the piece called “waiting” probably for the same reason, which was work that was made from random objects, there was a chair and a bucket on a string and a ladder and the comical part that I enjoyed was the projection on the seat with the different butts, it just wasn’t expected and at the same time given the nature of his lecture it almost wasn’t shocking.

The most well known piece, at least to me and probably the largest was the Big Blue Bear, which was called, “I see what you mean.” The bear is 40 feet tall and is outside the convention center which I have seen many times after all my visits to Denver. He, or it looks into the glass window and isn’t really how it seems. In fact I was interested to hear that the bear was made of 4,000 plastic triangles and that it wasn’t this completely smoothed form. The scales of works of art have always impressed me the most and of course the attention to detail which include the purpose of the work and the impact on the viewers. Argent definitely makes sure to consider the way that people view the works as well as making the work site specific. Argent chose a bear since we have mountains and bears and such in them, which I thought, was very straightforward. There was this theme of nature and the urban landscape living together as one which I felt was the over arching message that Argent was trying to convey the strongest in his piece, as well as other works of his land art.

I enjoyed Argent’s presence as a speaker as well as his art. After attending his lecture I have found myself a fan of his work and will make it a point to follow him from here on out as far as keeping up with what he is doing. I like everything he has created and admire his humor as well as the degree of artistic merit he brought to his profession. I really hope he keeps working in Colorado and I will be making a point of it to visit his works in Vail and Fort Collins just for the experience.

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