Lecture Review 2: Lawrence Argent- Nell Pollak

Logan Lecture Series: Lawrence Argent Review

Nell Pollak

Lawrence Argent was born in England and later trained in sculpture at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia where he developed his love for sculptural and public art. Argent is interested in how we as people perceive things and likes to incorporate those ideas in his works. He also has great interest in materiality and likes to encompass materials that are engaging but also questionable to the viewers. He likes to make contradictions in his works, which sets him apart from many other artists.

Argent is most renowned for his public art piece called “I see what you mean” or as some may call “the big blue bear.” This is a sculpture of a big, forty-foot bear that Argent had placed outside the Denver Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. Argent literally integrated this bear with the building by having the bear propped up against the building appearing to be peering through the windows. I enjoy how this monumental piece welcomes a sense of playfulness into the convention center experience. It is a very engaging piece, as public art pieces should be, as Argent reminded us at his Logan Lecture.

Another one of Argent’s well-known pieces is called the “Sacramento Airport Project.” This piece was very well thought out to work well with the specific energy of the airport. This sculpture is of a giant, red rabbit jumping into a suitcase. Argent wanted to make something imaginary for the airport while bringing something from the outside in.  The most fascinating aspect of this specific project and all of Argent’s other projects too was the time committed in ‘perfectly’ planning and crafting. This piece took several months to plan and then took another three months to build up in the airport. The time that Argent committed to each one of his projects shows how devoted and enthusiastic he is of his career.

I thoroughly enjoyed Lawrence Argent’s lecture at the Denver Art Museum. I felt like a learned a lot from him about the public art business. I really appreciated that he spoke about the people ‘behind-the-scenes’ that don’t always get much credit for the work they do and how fundamental they really are. I also found it very interesting how Argent actually does not do most of the sculptures he gets credited for. He does the planning and works with his crew of sculptures to get the job done. Lawrence Argent’s lecture inspired me to do further reading on the public art industry and actually influenced my own art.

One Response

  1. I too enjoyed Argent’s lecture and found the playfulness of the big blue bear one of the most attractive things about the sculpture. It really does engage with the public as well as those attending different events inside the convention center.

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