Note: Bonnie Gangelhoff is the senior editor at Southwest Art, a sister publication of The Artist’s Magazine. This is the first in a series of a weekly dispatches on art issues out West.
A war is raging in Denver over a 32-foot-tall fiberglass blue mustang that greets visitors at the Denver International Airport. A local developer, Rachel Hultin, has mounted a campaign to get the eye-popping equine corralled and moved to another locale. Her anti-stallion Facebook group is rife with support from people who call the sculpture fiendish, heinous and evil. One woman even said the scary steed makes her afraid to board a plane.
The airport commissioned sculptor Luis Jimenez to create the piece as a symbol of the West and of Denver. But as one naysayer declares, that’s not the message the sculpture sends, “because of this thing, people think they are in hell, not Denver.” Apparently, a main complaint is that the equine’s glowing red eyes make it seem possessed by the devil. (One Denverite has dubbed it “Bluecifer.”)
Meanwhile, the monumental mustang comes with some serious baggage. In 2006, Jimenez was killed when a piece of the horse fell on him in his New Mexico studio. Family members later finished the sculpture and it was installed in 2008. Since the city says public art can’t be moved for five years, the horse detractors may be the ones moving on, not the sculpture.
But the blue horse has its fans, who say art is supposed to stir up unbridled passions. And it could be that the renowned sculptor meant his icon of the West as a wry comment—we travel on red-eye flights rather than our trusty steeds. What do you think? Is the anti-stallion faction over-reacting, or do they have a point?