Monday, February 11, 2013

Denver's Big Blue Bronco

If controversy and conversation is the mark of a great artist's work than Luis Jimenez can rest in peace, as his last sculpture and the work that killed him has inspired lots of controversy and conversation.

Jimenez was the artist who created the great blue bronco that graces a large hill in front of the Denver International Airport.  The sculpture was commissioned in 1992 with Denver agreeing to pay Jimenez $300,000 for his work.  The statue was to be completed and in place by 1994.

The delivery date was never met and it would be another 14 years until it was finally installed in front of DIA.  While working on the final assembly of the sculpture in 2006, Jimenez was killed when a portion of the statue fell from a hoist, landed on him and sliced through an artery in his leg.  Trapped underneath the large metal section, Jimenez bled to death on the floor of his workshop.

The statue was finally installed and dedicated on June 12, 2008.  Immediately after that people started to complain about the statue and its garish blue color and blazing red eyes. Opinion on the statue has been divided ever since.  Many city residents want to do away with the statue.  What they would replace it with if anything makes me wonder.  Would they prefer a bland white statue of a horse like "Thunder" on the top of the football stadium in downtown Denver?.  That just sounds so incredibly tame to me!

Obviously I like the statue.  I think it adds a ton of character to the airport and by extension the city of Denver.  I have become very used to the statue since I first saw in it the summer of 2008 and now I would definitely be unhappy if it were to be removed!

Unfortunately, that may just happen.  When a Denver city commissioned piece of art is placed on display there is an ordinance that says it must remain on display for so many days or months or years - I really don't know the exact details of the code.  After that time is up, the art can be removed, placed somewhere else or simply left alone.  That default display time for "Sparky the Demon Horse" (as I call him) is coming to an end.  In the coming weeks the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs and City Art will make a determination as to what is to happen to the statue.  I hope that it is retained and can become a major symbol of our city.

Embedded at the top of this post is a wonderful, amazing, beautiful picture of the statue taken at night.  This picture was highlighted on a Facebook Page called "Visit Denver" today and I stole it from there.  (Actually - it was listed as shareable, so no stealing was necessary!)  I like the picture so much that I have updated my Facebook cover with this photo.  Even the picture is a truly remarkable work of art!

Well - that's it for a Monday night.  I hope everyone had a great weekend and has had a good start to the week.

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

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