Wednesday, February 18, 2009

When good horse sculptures turn bad

When the history of men who make large horse sculptures is written – a history we find our readers can’t get enough of – one name will stand above the rest: Luis Jiménez. In 2006 Jiménez paid the ultimate price of any MHS (Monumental Horse Sculptor). He was killed in his studio by his sculpture Mustang when it swung out of control while being hoisted. The sculpture crushed Jiménz against a gantry severing a major artery. Rushed to hospital, he died in the ambulance. This tragic event came at the end of the long and torturous process to create a 9.8 meter high rearing blue stallion with glowing eyes for Denver International airport. The work was commissioned in 1992 but constant delays dragged its completion into the 21st century. Jiménez’s son completed Mustang which was finally installed early in 2008.

The reaction has been mixed although at first criticism was muted by Jiménez's MHS sacrifice. Recently, however, opposition heated up when local developer Rachel Hultin launched a campaign to relocate the horse. Her weapon of persuasion – the Haiku. And so:

Ugly devil horse horrifies the traveler shames our fair city

To follow this bitter-sweet story go here.

Images: Top, Mustang rearing at the Denver International Airport. Bottom left, Luis Jiménez in his studio with the Mustang maquette and early work on the final sculpture, right Mustang being installed.