Colorado’s giant demonic blue mustang likely to continue terrifying travelers

Greg Campbell | Contributor

What will Coloradans do with “Blucifer?”

That’s one nickname among many for the most controversial piece of art in the Mile High City, a towering blue mustang with a spiked mane and blazing red neon eyes rearing up on its hind legs near the entrance to Denver International Airport.

Monday marked the five-year anniversary of its installation — and the date when it became eligible for its detractors to officially call for its removal to the remotest corner of the state.

There seems to be no middle ground when it comes to this sculpture, which can startle travelers who don’t expect a demonic-looking 32-foot-tall steed to emerge from the fog during an early-morning trip out to the airport. Coloradans either love it or hate it.

Public art is guaranteed to stay in place for at least five years before the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs will entertain petitions to move pieces deemed offensive. Spokesman Brian Kitts says the threshold for action is vague.

“There’s no firm number” of signatures required on a petition, he said.

“It’s one of those things that I think would be fairly rare for the commission to take up because the actual language says that there (must be) ‘extreme negative reaction over an extended period of time,’” he said. “That’s fairly vague. But on the other hand, it’s been up for five years and there hasn’t been that much formal negative reaction.”

But just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so too is “negative reaction.” In fact, there have been halfhearted calls for the sculpture’s removal almost since it was first installed. Even Stephen Colbert has mocked its veiny, prominently-displayed anatomical correctness.

The mustang’s Twitter persona, @Nightmare_Horse, has appealed to Colorado lawmakers to protect it, offering Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennett “ an exchange of demonic powers for political favors,” and telling Gov. John Hickenlooper to just say the word and he would “destroy Wyoming” so that Colorado could be the only “truly rectangular state.”

And even though critics’ constant references to the steed being “satanic” might sound hyperbolic, it has, in fact, killed someone: its creator, Luis Jimenez, who died when part of the sculpture fell on him while it was still under construction.

Nevertheless, there have been no official requests to the arts commission to send the piece, valued at around $2 million, out to pasture just yet.

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