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 History/Culture: Denver's Blue Mustang

Artby Christine Smith

I love it! The beautiful blue mustang with glowing red eyes greeting you outside of Denver International Airport is magnificent.

Now a sculpture I always look forward to seeing when I’m coming/going from DIA has become a national new story (even written about in The Wall Street Journal.) Why?

The mustang is unique, powerful, bold, daring…for me it embodies a spirit of freedom, a mystical quality, a wildness, and I think it’s a most artistic welcome for people coming to Colorado. Wow - what a great way to welcome people to our magnificent state. Even for me, who has seen it several times, I still look forward to it each and every time, and the darker the night all the better.

I’ve lived in Colorado for 23 years, and I not only appreciate this work of art myself, but consider our state and the city of Denver fortunate to have this magnificent work by renowned artist Luis Jimenez. Born in In El Paso, Texas, he was known for his unique artwork nationwide. Jimenez was actually killed at the age of 65 in its creation at his studio in New Mexico, as apparently a piece of/near the torso broke from a hoist and hit him pinning him against steel cutting a major artery, after 15 years of working on this creation he simply called Mustang. His sons completed the sculpture for the City of Denver which was installed at DIA in February 2008.

It became the talk of the town, of the state, and now it appears people are discussing it nationally. ...

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Somehow a controversy has been started for no reason whatsoever except for some small-minded fearful people who can’t appreciate art or appreciate the fact many others appreciate this beautiful art.

I’ve heard and read such fallacious arguments as protecting children from being frightened, and others who try to bring in some sort of talk of myths or something, or they merely focus on its appearance as if this beautiful piece of art is “demonic.”

This is not the first time Jimenez’s work sparked controversy. His fine works such as Southwest Pieta, Vaquero, and the poignant Cruzando El Rio Bravo (Border Crossing) all caused some people to react negatively.

Since many in our state are discussing and asking what the people think, I think it should remain right where it is. It’s for the city of Denver to decide, but I for one hope it always remains in its current location so I can continue to see it, and for all those others coming here who haven’t yet seen this glorious sculpture. It’s there in place, millions have seen it, and millions more will. The location is perfect for a sculpture of this magnitude.

Denver (and our state) is well represented by this passionate unique 32-foot high artwork. Art representing an area, a region, such as this piece selected for Denver, should embody the spirit of the region. It’s spirited, colorful, free, it’s a wild mustang…it evokes a feeling of wonder, of mystery, of magical adventure yet unknown.

If you haven’t been here in some time, you can look forward to our fine state and a welcome by a majestic statue the likes of which you’ll experience no where else. I like the fact this memorable sculpture will greet you upon arrival and bid you farewell. It perfectly represents vitality, vibrancy, life! Welcome to Denver, Colorado!

Visit DIA’s Art Program webpage to view a photo and brief bio of the artist and sculpture…but believe me, photos and video do not do this magnificent sculpture justice. One of the best photos appears in a slideshow (enlarge slideshow by clicking) accompanying The Wall Street Journal piece, A Horse of a Different Color Divides Denver by Stephanie Simon about the controversy.

View photos of some of his other works here, and read two most interesting articles about him (his life, background, and art): A Baroque Populism - Luis Jimenez by Charles De Mitchell and Larger Than Life: The late Luis Jiménez created art on a grand scale – and lived his life that way too by Robert Faires in The Austin Chronicle.

And do visit Colorado, fly in or out out of Denver (anytime, but at at night the glow of the eyes are enhanced) and enjoy the treat of viewing one of Jimenez’s stunning sculptures. I love Denver’s beautiful blue Mustang.


Christine Smith is a writer from Colorado. You may visit her website.


[10 February 2009]

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