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Critic seeks to stampede blue Mustang from Denver airport

Alan Gathright
Rocky Mountain News
Denver, CO Colorado
Rocky Mountain NewsThe glowing blue steed has stirred powerful emotions pro-and-con since the it reared up at the Denver airport in February 2008.
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DENVER, Colorado ” A critic has launched a Web site to stampede the fiery-eyed blue mustang sculpture from the entrance of Denver International Airport.

“DIA’s Heinous Blue Mustang Has Got To Go,” Rachel Hultin, a Denver Realtor, declares at byebyebluemustang.com.

The Facebook page is drawing attention from the news media and people who both hate and love the 32 foot-tall sculpture by the late artist Luis Jimenez.

The glowing blue steed has stirred powerful emotions pro-and-con since the it reared up at DIA in February 2008.

“Is anyone else as mortified and offended by DIA’s 32 foot fiendish blue ‘Mustang’ statue as I am?” Hultin asks on the Web site.

In an an art-versus-art clash, she urges all comers to “participate in the Heinous Blue Mustang Haiku Challenge!” The goal is to send Haiku poems entered on the Web site by Saturday to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s Office of Cultural Affairs.

“Maybe if we drum up enough people we can go push the thing over in the middle of the night as an act of civic duty :-),” Hultin says in a joke about toppling the stupendous steed.

The star-crossed equine statue caused tragedy and controversy long before it arrived.

Even Jiminez’ son said the artist had a “love-hate relationship” with the work call “Mustang,” which ultimately took its creator’s life.

The city of Denver commissioned Jiminez to build the beast in 1992 for delivery four years later for $300,000.

But creative delays triggered lawsuits between the city and Jiminez and the cost more than doubled during the mustang’s long odyssey to DIA.

The tragedy came in 2006 when the torso of fiberglass horse fell and crushed Jiminez while it was being hoisted in his New Mexico studio.

Yet, during a formal dedication last year, DIA spokesman Jeff Green said: “When you’re right underneath it, it’s extraordinarily big and a spectacular silhouette.”

Others are less awestruck.

“The unnatural, garish blue color is strange enough, but with bright red lights for eyes, the structure takes on the demonically possessed look of an alien straight out of a bad sci-fi flick,” one critic said in a letter to the Rocky.

“I’m disappointed that Colorado taxpayers spent $650,000 on this modern-day version of a Trojan horse. Perhaps it’s not filled with invaders, but with that evil look, who knows?” the critic concluded.

But supporters say Hultin and other Mustang critics’ taste is in their mouth.

“I’ll start with your ignorance as to what art is,” Shawn Tolliver wrote Hultin in a Web site post.

“This (mustang) was built with the same intention as the giant blue bear outside the convention center, or the two faced sculpture that stands on the corner of 14th and colfax … to express what Mr. Jiminez felt about out great city,” Tolliver wrote.

“The manor in which it stands tall alone, signifies what us as Coloradans should feel, PRIDE!. The glowing red eyes embrace the fire and determination we should all feel inside,” she concludes.


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