Some Say ‘Nay’ to Giant Horse Sculpture

Travel Blog  •  Rob Verger  •  02.12.09 | 1:38 PM ET

There is a 32-foot-tall sculpture of a wild mustang in front of Denver International Airport, and to put it bluntly, it’s freaking some people out, the AP reports. There is even a Facebook group devoted to putting the horse out to pasture, so to speak. The sculpted horse is blue, muscled, and rears powerfully up on two legs. Mohawk-like mane juts from its neck and head.

To get more reactions to the horse, I emailed some friends who live in Colorado. “Driving by the horse is a surreal experience,” wrote Dan Knights. “The horse is incongruous with its surroundings. All around it there’s nothing but flat dry fields and highway, and then all of a sudden there’s this giant cobalt blue horse. It’s made especially creepy by its fiery glowing eyes. I’m not sure if the eyes are actually illuminated or merely reflecting the ambient light, but they definitely give the horse a possessed demonic appearance.”

My friend Andrew Jones put things more strongly. “Frankly, the horse freaks me out,” he wrote. “In my last few trips to D.I.A., I’ve been trying to figure out why, exactly. The bright red eyes are an obvious candidate, of course, so I imagined: What would I think if it had green eyes? Or none, or black, like a normal horse? Is it the nostrils, aggressively flared, or the fact that the mane is so uproarious in its frozen flow?” Jessica Jones, his wife, wrote: “We see this horse every time we go to D.I.A. and its eyes scare the blazes out of me.”

And Montana Wojczuk, who lives in New York City but grew up in Boulder, Colorado, wrote: “I love the devil horse, but not in the way D.I.A. probably intended—it’s incredibly creepy and reminds me of that fear in the pit of my stomach I get when I’m about to board a plane. Most public art in the area is either hideous or too tame—come on, Denver used to be considered the most sinful city in the west.”

I flew in and out of D.I.A. last April, and amazingly enough, I either didn’t see the horse sculpture or, if I did, I don’t really remember it, which seems strange. But my opinion? Based on photos, I honestly think the horse looks beautiful, and it does seem to capture a spirit of wildness and the American west.

Anyone else see it and have a strong reaction?

Rob Verger

Rob Verger is a frequent contributor to World Hum and the site's former air travel blogger. His articles and photographs have appeared in the Boston Globe and other publications, and he's a former undergraduate writing instructor at Columbia University. If you like, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or follow him on Twitter.

6 Comments for Some Say ‘Nay’ to Giant Horse Sculpture

Eva Holland 02.12.09 | 11:00 PM ET

Some say ‘nay’ - ha! Nice one, Rob. (I just got that now.)

Bronco Rider 02.12.09 | 11:23 PM ET

It definitely captures your attention. You look at it—every time—and you get kind of alarmed: “What is that?” After you figure out it is a bronco, immediately you think about the football team. It’s kind of weird the airport would promote the Broncos.

Rob Verger 02.12.09 | 11:51 PM ET

Thanks, Eva! Glad you liked the pun. I know it was pretty groan-worthy.

Beth Partin 02.13.09 | 1:02 PM ET

Oh, come on, the horse is cool! Yeah, it’s designed to remind people of the football team because the fans wear blue, but it also evokes how the mountains come up out of the plains, evokes the wildness of the West.

Art is not supposed to make people comfortable—it’s supposed to startle them.

Beth Partin 02.13.09 | 1:03 PM ET

PS. There’s another Facebook group called I Love DIA’s Blue Mustang.

Rob Verger 02.13.09 | 2:50 PM ET

Thanks, Beth! I think the horse looks cool too, although as I said, I haven’t seen it close-up and in person. Thanks for pointing out that other Facebook group. Here, by the way, is a brief op-ed piece that argues that the sculpture is great:

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