Fiery Horse On Pena

Drivers cannot miss its fiery-red, glowing eyes while passing by on Peña Boulevard near Denver International Airport. Its wild mane, tail and rearing body in a bright blue hue has viewers double-taking Luis Jimenez’s “Mustang”—but not necessarily in a good way.  

And Jimenez should be proud—even if it did cost him his life in 2006 when a piece of the statue crushed him.

His piece has received nationwide attention and appeared in numerous papers including the New York and Los Angeles Times.

A lot of controversy has arisen since the installation of the piece on Feb. 11, 2008. Art should evoke emotions, good or bad, and that is what the mustang has done. Whether it is in the form of articles, complaints and haikus in form of other complaints—it is being talked about. And after all, all publicity is good publicity.

Therefore, the “Mustang “ should remain permanently in its place.

Rachel Hultin, a Denver resident and developer, publically disapproves of the mustang on Facebook and has created a group titled, “DIA’s Heinous Blue Mustang Has Got To Go.” Hultin’s opinion is pretty obvious.  According to city policy, the statue cannot be removed for five years and Hultin is aware of that but she wants the 10,924 members to chime in with personal opinions and what can be done to help residents and visitors find the Mustang a bit more “welcoming.”

 Welcoming? An actual rearing horse cannot be found “welcoming.” But even if the stance were to be changed, the conspicuous genitals would still offend people.

Hultin went as far as to post close-up images of this angle of the mustang on Facebook. And why would anyone be viewing a 32-foot statue from behind? Jimenez just couldn’t leave that part out—this isn’t a Barbie.

Toby Sachs-Quintana, a New Mexico Tech student who commented on the group’s wall, said he finds it strange that so many people are uncomfortable with an anatomically correct horse. If this is horse representing the strength of the United States, it should be large and intimidating in all areas of its body. After all, the likes of London has seen this mustang and reported on it. So the US has an image to uphold, glowing eyes, blue body and all! Its eyes and color only add more to the effect of strength.

The red eyes are not there to spook people but to act as a tribute. According to Denver’s Web site, the glowing eyes are a nod to Jimenez’s father’s neon sign work. The color of the mustang is not meant to add to the creepy factor it has, but simply to grab your attention— and it does.

People driving down Peña will notice the horse, not representing something out of the Apocalypse or demonic creatures but of an artist’s vision of freedom and strength.

If Hultin wants to attack the choice of color, stance or even the message behind the mustang, all she has to do is think back to what the statue represents.

“This is a symbol of the American west and the spirit that helped the pioneers,” Sachs-Quintana said. “Yes it is anatomically correct and unsightly, but so was western colonization.”

Maybe Hultin will take that into consideration, write and dedicate a haiku to Jimenez to congratulate him on his artwork making an impression for years to come. If complaints and controversies continue as it stands outside of DIA, then it has done its job as an art piece and should remain—if anything let it be a memorial to Jimenez.

Keep those eyes glowing bright, ‘stang.


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