If there’s one thing Denverites love doing, it’s bitching about public art projects. We’re a timid, whiny lot, and anything edgier than that inane blue bear outside the Colorado Convention Center (which always reminds me of Dorothy Parker’s response to The House at Pooh Corner: “Tonstant Weader fwowed up”) sends the LoDo loft people and satellite yuppies of Highlands Ranch gnawing on their hardwood flooring. Usually with head Puritans Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman leading the charge.
One of their longest-running targets has been a sculpture titled “El Mesteno” by Luis Jiménez, which Dan Caplis has dubbed “Ol’ Meth” (and, yeah, I’m admitting that’s almost funny). It’s a lean, mean piece, and there’s nothing cutesy about it. Unlike almost every other public sculpture in our fair cowtown, it’s actually fucking interesting. And not just because it killed its maker. It’s got a wildness to it, a sense of the wonder and terror that comes with unbridled freedom. As I recall, though I’m having trouble tracking it down, the piece is based on a San Luis Valley legend about a wild blue mustang with glowing red eyes who led other wild horses to the best grass and water.
Anyway, as to be expected, all the greasy whining by our local pinch-mouthed shits has garnered national media attention. Replete, as usual, with the kind of commentary that’s sure to make the rest of us shudder with embarrassment.
Two of my favorites:
“It’s evil looking almost. It’s intimidating, I think,” said John from Centennial. “And the color is awful, it should match the white of the airport,” added John’s wife, Hazel.
Well, of course, shouldn’t all art be color coordinated?
“It looks like it’s possessed,” said one city resident of the bright blue sculpture with red neon eyes. “I have a huge fear of flying anyway, and to be greeted at the airport by a demon horse — it’s not a soothing experience.”
See, now, Mr. Jimenez could’ve avoided all this controversy if he’d just cleared the piece with every phobia-prone, tender little twit in Denver. Wonder why that thought never occurred to him?
Anyway, you get the gist, and if you wanna continue dragging your brain through this particular ditch, you can always check out the official Facebook page of the poor darlings leading this campaign. Me, I’m gonna go prop myself up against a bar somewhere and pretend I live anywhere, and I mean anywhere, else.
Update: Found one reference to the San Luis Valley legend in the San Luis Valley Dweller.
In the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado, the old ones will sometimes tell the story of a mustang who led all the others – one who could run even faster than the wind. He would gather the herd from the plains and lead them to where the sweetest grass and water were to be found. They tell of a blue mustang whose eyes glowed red – he could run so fast some said he could fly.