Logan Lecture Review: Lawrence Argent

Andrew Davis

ARTH 3539

Logan Lecture Review

Lawrence Argent is known for his engaging public sculptures and installations worldwide. He produces site-specific work that reflects upon, integrates, and compliments various aspects of the space. Working with big budgets and teams of architects, engineers, and other specialized professionals, Lawrence Argent explores associated subjectivity in relation to one’s ability to perceive passion and symbiotic relationships within cultural symbolism. Lawrence Argent engages his space; retaining conscious focus on formal criteria including understanding the history of a space, ensuring the object reflects cultural value, while allowing one’s imagination to serve as ideological glue. Your Move, completed in 2011, involves three colossal abstracted gourds, two sculpted from granite and one cast in bronze. Commissioned by the University of Houston, the installation resides in the International Graduate Student Housing Complex. Each of the three gourds represents common facets of the academic system. “Of all the known plant types, the gourd is one of the few that experts believe spanned the entire globe on prehistoric times. It was used by virtually every culture.”[1] By choosing a plant that has worldwide cultural associations, Lawrence Argent comments on the international importance of education within different cultures. The polished red granite gourd represents the various “steps” involved in the educational process. The second stone-carved gourd represents the “weave” of knowledge that is researched, theorized, taught, and perceived within the educational system. The final and largest gourd represents the “patches” associated with the assimilation of information and processes. Lawrence Argent chose to name the piece Your Move to inspire scholars to consider their prospects and potential within their pursuits. The forms themselves resemble game tokens emphasizing one’s control in the game of life. This was my favorite piece because Lawrence Argent strived to compose simple ideas in a way that challenged state of the art technological processes and human capability.  This piece compliments its academic environment, abstractly providing a conversation for intellectual and physical ways of gaining knowledge. This piece reflects a relationship to the past, present, and future and was the strongest piece presented in Lawrence Argents lecture.

On a more critical note, I would like to address the pronunciation of the word: idea. It drives me crazy to hear world-renowned artists pronounce the word idea as i-dee-er. Artists primarily work with ideas. An idea fuels a process and a product that influences other ideas. It is clear that Lawrence Argent is not the primary executer of his ideas. Working with big budgets he is allowed the opportunity to work with other professionals to help plan and execute his ideas. The word idea has vast and general connotations; However, I feel the proper pronunciation would only have supported his role as the artist and legitimatized his primary work with ideas.

Works Cited

Argent, Lawrence. Lawrence Argent: Your Move. Retrieved 20 April 2012 from Lawrence Argent: http://www.lawrenceargent.com/public-art-projects/your-move

2 Responses

  1. It would seem that Argent is not the only one using that pronunciation of “idea.” I noticed that Janine Antoni also pronounced the word like that and it mystifies me why these artists use this pronunciation. I thought the work that went into “Your Move” was incredible and I’m glad you addressed the fact that he comes up with the ideas, but does not create them. At least this frees him up to really work the history of the sites and incorporate them into the finished work!

  2. That’s great that you mentioned the “idea” thing, I’m pretty sure it’s a regional accent and not just limited to artists but it bugs me too. I’m not sure if I’m comfortable with just how little actual work Argent puts into creating his works. I understand having craftsman carry out the designs in the interest of formalism but I also feel like that’s a bit of a cop-out.

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