Friday, December 17, 2010

Denver Airport's "Hell Horse"

One of the first things you see as you exit the Denver International Airport, welcoming you to town, is a 32 foot freakishly scary blue ‘Mustang’ statue—complete with glowing red eyes. It is strategically positioned so that everyone leaving or coming to the airport must pass by this disturbing piece of art. I took someone to the airport today who had never flown out of Denver and their response was "that is the stuff of nightmares". I don't know why the City of Denver would want to greet people this way or have them leave with that as their last impression of our town. My guess is: it didn't turn out the way they imagined and now are stuck with it. It is blue—one of the Denver Broncos colors, so maybe they thought it would fit in. But the horse on the Denver Broncos logo is actually white (outlined in blue), and as tough as that horse looks (you want a tough mascot for a football team) at least it doesn't look satanic.

To make matters worse, this gigantic statue has a sordid past. It killed a man. Yes, a piece of its torso fell off and killed the artist, Luis Jimenez, while creating it. His family later finished it, and the City of Denver paid $650,000 in municipal bonds for it.

It has been hotly debated.

According to UsaToday "any petition to move the sculpture would not be considered until 2013, [because of] a city policy designed to give people a chance to get used to new public art."

Some people have called for it to be moved somewhere else, some want to at least turn the red eyes off, and others want to paint it a different color. I don't think someone's art should be altered by anyone other than the artist. And since he is dead, that makes it a little trickier. Many people have said to give it some time—that art grows on you. But the problem as I see it is that this work of art is intended for people arriving for the first time in Denver. It is the first impression of the city they get, and as it is along the road they won't have time to study it or learn to appreciate it. It just gives them a weird first impression and makes them have second thoughts about the town they are entering.

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