Time to opine about DIA’s ‘demon horse’ ending

Blue Horse for featured

"Mustang," as it was dubbed by sculptor Luis Jiménez, was mounted in its place in front of the Denver International Airport in 2008.

“Mustang,” as it was dubbed by sculptor Luis Jiménez, was mounted in its place in front of the Denver International Airport in 2008.

DENVER — Perhaps no one piece of art has ever divided Coloradans — not to mention foreigners passing through the state’s biggest city via commercial jet — more than the sometimes-playfully- and sometimes-not-so-playfully-dubbed “demon horse” that greets travelers entering or exiting the Denver International Airport.

On Feb. 11, a five-year public comment period on “Mustang” officially ends, said DIA spokeswoman Laura Coale.

“We want this to be a careful thought-out process,” Coale said.

Public reaction to the sculpture has been mixed, she adding saying “this is the whole point of public art to spur debate.”

Nothing official happens after the public comment phase ends. Coale said airport managers would consider all the public comments and may make a decision later on the 32-foot blue horse with piercing red eyes.

Coale said the horse “has become iconic” just like the airport’s white tents.

Members of the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs and the Denver Public Art Program will take part in that debate.

Grumblings about the sculpture’s demonic nature began shortly after it was mounted in front of the airport on Feb. 11, 2008.

One of the most compelling arguments that could be made for relocating the sculpture could also be used for keeping it put: Is the fact that the horse killed its creator a better reason to move it, or to let it be?

A piece from “Mustang,” the sculpture’s given name, fell and struck renowned sculptor Luis Jiménez in 2006 as he was in the process of finishing what was to be his final creation. It severed an artery in his leg and he bled to death.

At the time, Jiménez was 12 years late on delivering the sculpture, as per his contract with the city of Denver. It was finally completed and installed two years after the 65-year-old’s untimely and unfortunate demise.

The city forked up $650,000 for the finished product, more than double what it had initially agreed to pay. Since the work was the last piece Jiménez ever created, an art appraiser in New York City now values it at $2 million — a figure that could serve as fodder for relocation advocates.

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