Monday, March 02, 2009

and behold a big blue horse: many in denver just say neigh

and behold a big blue horse: many in denver just say neighfrom nytimes: Airports can be tense and testy places in the best of times. At Denver International Airport, you can add glow-in-the-dark eyes to the list of triggers for a traveler’s angst.

A statue of a giant male horse - electric-eyed, cobalt blue and anatomically correct - was installed in February 2008 on the roadway approach to the terminal, and it is freaking more than a few people out.

Haters of this work say that “Blue Mustang,” as it is formally known, by the artist Luis Jiménez (killed in 2006 when a section of the 9,000-pound fiberglass statue fell on him during construction), is frightening, or cursed by its role in Mr. Jiménez’s death, or both. Supporters say the 32-foot-tall horse is a triumph, if only as a declaration of Denver’s courage to go beyond easy-listening-style airport art that many cities use like visual Dramamine to soothe travelers’ nerves...

It’s definitely achieved its purpose of being memorable,” said Rachel Hultin, a real-estate broker in Denver who started a page on Facebook last month to vent her horse anxieties,, and found herself at the center of the debate...

and behold a big blue horse: many in denver just say neighThe original design called for a pull-off from the airport road, with benches and ample room to contemplate the statue from all angles. After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, however, the parking area idea was shelved for security reasons. That makes “Blue Mustang” literally unapproachable...

In the process of being personally attacked through e-mail, and through learning more about the piece, I’ve shifted gears from, ‘I don’t think it’s appropriate,’ to ‘Let’s try and understand it,’” she said.

But the controversy has also stirred up people in other ways. Conspiracies have floated around the Internet for years about secret bunkers or caverns beneath the terminals at the Denver airport. Symbols of Freemasonry are also said to abound on airport floors and walls.

It’s brought out the conspiracy theorists who think there are aliens living under the airport,” said Patricia Calhoun, the editor of Westword, an alternative weekly paper in Denver that is helping organize a “Blue Mustang” poetry slam in April to share horse haiku as part of National Poetry Month.

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