Art Professor Lawrence Argent adds big red rabbit to list of public art projects
No one has ever accused Lawrence Argent of being a miniaturist. A renowned sculptor and DU faculty member celebrated for read more…
No one has ever accused Lawrence Argent of being a miniaturist.
A renowned sculptor and DU faculty member celebrated for his public art projects, Argent is known nationwide for I See What You Mean, the massive, 40-foot-tall blue bear that peers into the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver. In the seven years since it was installed, it has become a tourist attraction and a landmark, as well as a testament to Denver’s appetite for the creative and unconventional.
Argent’s most recent public art installation, Leap, places a fleet-footed red rabbit in the ticketing and baggage-claim areas of the newly remodeled Terminal B at Sacramento International Airport in California. The 10,000-pound, 56-foot-long lagomorph—which appears to have sprung from the outdoors on a mad dash to a giant suitcase bedecked with a swirling vortex—promises to do for Sacramento what the big blue bruin did for Denver.
Argent was given free rein in the $800,000 commission, charged only with creating a signature piece. One of his primary goals, he says, was to conjure something that would capture the wonder and perplexity of the modern journey.
Given the generic personality of most airports and the daze in which most travelers negotiate the check-in kiosks and security lines, Argent also wanted to nudge—if not jolt—the jet-lagged, stress-boggled traveler back to full consciousness. “One is not in a normal state,” Argent says of the airport experience. “I wanted it to diffuse the cacophony of the energy that exists in the airport.”
Leap took three months to install. Made of more than 1,400 aluminum triangles, it is suspended from the terminal’s structural frame by seven cables. The accompanying suitcase, as large as a queen-sized bed, is made of granite. It represents the baggage—metaphorical, checked and carry-on—that we bring with us on every journey.
“Everything in the suitcase,” Argent says, “is a symbol of who we are.”