Denver's 40-foot Blue Bear
The 40-foot tall Blue Bear, designed by Lawrence Argent is formally named “I See What You Mean™, 2005” The Bear can be found peering into the Colorado Convention Center and has become a favorite of tourists and locals alike.
Argent felt it important to focus on what it is like to be a resident in Denver when a convention is taking place. “I’m always interested in what might be going on in there, the exchange of information, ideas, and ideologies but there’s never really any indication from the outside what’s going on inside.”
In the process of brainstorming, the city was going through a period of drought and bears would venture into the city. After seeing a photo of a black bear looking into someone’s window from a local newspaper, Argent saw the ultimate resemblance of “curiosity” and the idea of a curious bear never left his mind. Now that the idea of a
bear came into play, Mr. Argent wanted his bear to have a unique texture similar to the toys his sons played with which inspired the idea of a toy bear look. In presenting the concept to the selection committee, the blue 3D modeling clay he used intrigued everyone so much that it ultimately became the bear’s trademark.
With combining Argent’s passion for regional western art with a non-resident’s perspective of curiosity, the story of how the Colorado Convention Center’s Blue Bear known as I See What You Mean has not only become one of the iconic symbols of the Colorado Convention Center, but also an iconic symbol of the city itself.
- Notice the scale, geometric planes and the intense blue color that make up the bear. How do you think these aspects help to create the mood of this sculpture?
- What feeling would this sculpture evoke if it was realistic in size, color and texture? Would it have become a city icon?
What do you think of this artwork? Often artwork resonates with us for different reasons. It is in the eye of the beholder as they say. I was in college before I realized that it was okay to dislike certain artworks. Framing your opinions around other contexts than 'do I like it or not?' allows the viewer to look closer at the characteristics, and not just dismiss it outright. Often after giving a piece more time or consideration, one can begin to value it for aspects other than the original perception, therefore creating an opportunity for the art to move you, benefit you in some way. Choose to consider the concepts below and discuss your opinions with a friend.
- Took a long time to make
- Worth a lot of money
- This was a great idea
- Skillful and well-executed
- I feel a connection to this piece
- I find it confusing
- This would be great to have
- My parent/friend/boss would like this
- This piece reminds me of...
- Imagine this curious bear comes to life after dark. What do you think he would do, where would he go?
Lawrence Argent (January 24, 1957 – October 4, 2017) was a visual artist known for his public artwork I See What You Mean, installed at the Colorado Convention Center.Argent was born on January 24, 1957, in Essex, England, and grew up in Australia. He studied art at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia, and received his MFA in 1986, from the Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute, College of Art, in Baltimore, Maryland.CareerArgent accepted a teaching position at the University of Denver School of Art and Art History in 1993. He created a number of public artworks, photographs, and installations including Cojones (1999), Library of Applause (1994), Whispers (2002), and three of his more visible pieces I See What You Mean (2004) at the Colorado Convention Center, Leap (2011) at the Sacramento International Airport, and I am here (2014) in Chengdu, China.Argent was at the forefront of a movement known as digital sculpting, using "computer-aided design software to create sculptures with once-impractical whorls, warps, swirls, and bends."Argent died on October 4, 2017. The cause was cardiac arrest.