Cortex Garage Artwork Finalists to Show Their Concepts at Venture Cafe

By on July 30, 2019

Three finalists have been selected to present their concepts of the Cortex Garage Artwork project during the Venture Café’s Thursday Gathering on August 1st at 4240 Duncan Avenue The three finalists have developed concept proposals, and the public is invited to review the concepts and offer comments during the presentation. The selection committee will meet at a later time to review the input from the public and make a final recommendation. The winner will be announced at a later date.


The three finalist artists and artist teams are Cliff Garten, William LaChance, and Rosario Marquardt and Roberto Behar of R&R Studios. The finalists represent a variety of styles and approaches to public art.

Cliff Garten is an internationally recognized artist who has completed more than fifty sculpture commissions throughout the U.S. and Canada. Garten’s artistic approach toward civic sculpture explores the expressive potential of infrastructure. He places his sculpture within the everyday as a way to re-imagine how civic infrastructure might perform beyond its basic function. Garten is the recipient of two Individual Artist Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bush Foundation Fellowship for Individual Artists, the Bush Foundation Leadership Fellowship, and the Jerome Foundation Travelling Artist Grant. His civic sculptures have consistently been named best in the nation by The Americans for the Arts Public Art Network and have been cited for design excellence by the American Society of Landscape Architects. Garten has served as a visiting professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, UCLA School of Architecture, Otis Art Institute, and SCI-Arc. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Master of Landscape Architecture with Distinction from Harvard Graduate School of Design. Garten lives and works in Venice, California.

William LaChance is an artist living and working in St. Louis, Missouri. LaChance’s paintings are associations of displaced forms and colors cribbed from graphic design, fashion, art history and nature itself, cobbled together using a variety of studio processes and materials from painting and printmaking to sewing and sculptural methods. The resulting paintings and objects openly blur the boundary between high art and applied arts, lending themselves to various manner of surface design, from textiles and branding to fully realized earthworks. LaChance’s recent mural adorning the Kinloch Park basketball courts was named the best-designed basketball court in the world by Architectural Digest. Future art courts are scheduled in Beirut, Lebanon and London, UK. LaChance’s public art project Slipstream is located at St. Louis Lambert Airport; he is represented by Beers Contemporary, London, UK, Madison Gallery, San Diego, CA, Belvedere Art Space, Beirut, Lebanon and Galerie 42b in Paris, France. LaChance graduated with an MFA in painting from Indiana University in 2001, and a BFA from The Kansas City Art Institute in 1993.

R&R Studios was founded by Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt. Their multidisciplinary practice, weaving together visual arts, architecture, landscape and the city has been recognized with multiple awards and over 350 publications worldwide. Marquardt and Behar are known for creating social sculptures for public pleasure. All together Now in downtown Denver, the biggest M in the world in Miami, The Living Room, their iconic Miami home turned inside out and most recently Besame Mucho and SUPERNOVA at Coachella Music and Arts Festival 2016 and 2018 all suggest a world of possibilities where the fantastic becomes part of everyday life. Their work has been exhibited internationally in solo and group museums shows. They are currently completing landmarks and public squares in Seattle, Phoenix, Coral Gables and Puerto Rico. Marquardt and Behar have known each other since childhood, received Diplomas in Architecture in Argentina and later attended the legendary Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York City.  The team has taught, lectured and served as visiting critics at major universities including Harvard GSD, Yale University, Cornell University, Universita IUAV di Venezia, and the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne; Roberto Behar teaches at the University of Miami School of Architecture.


The three finalists will present their ideas to a selection panel in August to determine which artist or artist team will be commissioned to execute the artwork. The public will be able to hear the artists’ ideas at a Venture Café gathering in Cortex on Thursday, August 1st. The panelists are: Hannah Klemm of Saint Louis Art Museum, James Kolker of Washington University, Lisa Melandri of Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Bridget Melloy of Projects+ Gallery, Tim Portlock of Washington University, Cara Starke of Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Peter Tao of Tao+Lee Architects, Donna Ware of BJC, and Elizabeth Wolfson of Flood Plain Gallery.


The artwork will be displayed on the south façade of the recently completed Cortex parking garage, visible by those entering and exiting the garage and highly visible to both MetroLink riders and passersby on the Chouteau Greenway. The artwork will also be visible to pedestrians and drivers from many other vantage points throughout the area and nearby structures. A later phase of expansion of the garage construction will extend the selected artist or artist team’s design in the future. 


Cortex is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that oversees development of the Cortex Innovation Community, founded by Washington University in St. LouisSaint Louis UniversityUniversity of Missouri – St. LouisBJC Healthcare, and the Missouri Botanical Garden. Cortex staff and leadership are committed to creating a community in which everyone has access to office space, capital investment, business education, mentoring, and community events. We are building a dynamic, 24/7 neighborhood of restaurants, nightlife, shops, green spaces, and apartments. Cortex is committed to fostering an innovation community in which the benefits of new company formation, capital investment, job creation, and wealth generation extend to all. We work closely with our District innovation centers, founding partners, and other entrepreneur support organizations across the region to create and strengthen that community. We recognize that we are part of a larger movement for inclusive economic transformation of the St. Louis region.


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