Lawrence Argent, artist behind Denver's ‘big blue bear,' dies

Posted at 1:17 PM, Oct 06, 2017

DENVER – The man behind one of Denver’s most recognizable pieces of public art has died.

Lawrence Argent designed the statue commonly referred to as the “big blue bear” at the Colorado Convention Center. He died on Oct. 4, the Douglas County Coroner’s Office confirmed. The cause of death is under investigation.

"The University of Denver is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Lawrence Argent. For nearly 25 years he was an award-winning artist and faculty member in the School of Art and Art History. He was a beloved mentor to countless students and a respected colleague. His public art—installed on DU’s campus and on sites around the world—will have an impact for many years to come," said University of Denver spokeswoman Madeline Phipps.

Argent was born in England and studied sculpture at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia and the Rhinehart School of Sculpture at Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore.

While Argent’s work spanned a number of media, including paintings, drawings and sculptures, he’s best known for his public art projects around the world.

The big blue bear statue at the Colorado Convention Center is actually titled “I see what you mean.” Peering through the windows of the convention center, the bear evokes a reversal of roles between spectator and subject while toying with traditional notions of Western art.

On his website, Argent said the goal of his public works was to “somewhat reduce the hierarchical nature of what is assumed to be art.”

There’s no word yet on whether a public memorial is planned in Argent’s honor.