Denver Mustang Art or Awful?


Public art is often a mixed bag. Some people love it and some love to hate it. The Blue Mustang, a 32-foot tall cast fiberglass sculpture by New Mexico artist Luis Jiménez, exemplifies this dichotomy. Situated at the Denver airport, it makes quite the first impression. While some call the Mustang a masterpiece, others have names not so complementary, including “Bluecifer,” “Satan’s Steed” and “Blue Devil Horse.”

Some people object to the Mustangs glowing red eyes.

Some people object to the Mustang's glowing red eyes.

Jiménez was known for sculptures that embodied Southwestern and Hispanic themes. The Blue Mustang was proposed for the airport because of the role it played it symbolized the West and because horses were the original form of long-distant transport.

The 9,000-pound sculpture was by far the largest sculpture of his career and sadly, it was also his last. The artist was killed while working on the Mustang: a section of it fell on him and severed a femoral artery. His sons finished and installed the sculpture.

Unwrapping the Mustang.

Unwrapping the Mustang on site, Feb. 11 2008.

Born in in 1940, Luis Alfonso Jiménez Jr. was the son of Mexican immigrants. His father owned a neon sign shop in El Paso, where he worked as a youth. His experiences at the sign shop and his fascination with car culture in the border areas greatly influenced his art career: his sculptures are bright, colorful and large in scale, using fiberglass as his medium.

The artist at work on the Blue Mustang.

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11 responses

  1. I’m trying to be objective when I look at that thing- seriously- but as an artist who paints a lot of horses, and a horse lover- it just makes me cringe. It’s bad on so many levels.
    yikes.

  2. Hey, I live in Colorado and know this sculpture! Just imagine driving the long road across an open plain out to DIA (Denver Int’l Airport). You see the clever design of the airport itself first, it looks like snow-covered mountains. You’re flying home or away, somewhere, but these beautiful white snow-covered mountains look welcoming and even optimistic. You’re getting on a plane soon, flying away, and all is well. Then you get closer, and, hey, what’s that red glow? Is it some kind of beacon? No, it’s connected to a figure…a blue something…Holy Crap!!! It’s a rearing, wrinkly, greasy-looking, fire-eyed demon horse from hell!!! Our plane is going to crash and burn!!! Go back!!! Noooo!!!

  3. wrinkly? seriously? do some research people. when luis was killed by the sculpture, his sons finished the work, and added the neon eys (not part of the original design) to pay homage to their family’s artistic heritage. we are lucky to have this piece of art. one huge tragedy is that dia won’t let us close enough to experience the art intimately, so everyone has negative feelings about it. they need to move it or allow us to see it in-person…

  4. wrinkly? seriously? the horse is anatomically correct, and horses don’t have wrinkles. do some research people. when luis was killed by the sculpture, his sons finished the work, and added the neon eys (not part of the original design) to pay homage to their family’s artistic heritage. we are lucky to have this piece of art. one huge tragedy is that dia won’t let us close enough to experience the art intimately, so everyone has negative feelings about it. they need to move it or allow us to see it in-person…

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