DIA Mustang
© Helen H. Richardson, Denver Post "Mustang," a 32-foot sculpture of a wild horse, is seen at Denver International Airport. Now that the controversial public work of art has been in place for five years, it is possible for citizens to petition to have it removed.
We come before you today to fend off any notion of rounding up a posse and going after the ferocious animal looming on a small piece of range east of this ol' cowtown.

With its bulging muscles, lurid veins and eerie red eyes, the great blue beast has been the bane of many a man, woman and child since it came to town on Feb. 11, 2008.

Known to some in these parts as "Blucifer," "Devil Horse," or "The Blue Stallion of Death," it could soon be open season on the creature properly known as "Mustang," the sculpture that stands guard at Denver International Airport.

As reported last week by Westword, petitions to remove public art in Denver are accepted after five years - a policy intended to avoid knee-jerk decisions on placement, fit and aesthetic.

Though a half-serious effort four years ago drew considerable interest, to our knowledge no one is proposing the piece be sent out to pasture. And we hope no one does.

For the last five years, the anatomically correct creature has prompted untold commentary and criticism.

"Mustang" is the work of noted Hispanic artist Luis Jimenez. It was the subject of controversy even before landing in Denver some 16 years after it was commissioned. Some people believe the sculpture is cursed - pointing out that Jimenez was killed after a portion of it fell off and crushed him (it was completed by family members).

Yet "Mustang" has found admirers among art critics, parents looking to entertain children and many others.

In 2011, it was honored as one of the "most bizarre" pieces of public art by Yahoo.com. But it is more than that - it also evokes feelings of the region's historical and cultural heritage.

The sculpture is - in the true sense of the word - remarkable.

And that's the point of public art, Colleen Fanning, a consultant in Denver who worked on the project, told The Denver Post's Colleen O'Connor in 2011. Most of us, she said, "want to choose things that evoke thought and maybe, hopefully, make someone stop and wonder what that is all about."

"Mustang" is a sort of bizarro Mr. Ed in that it's a horse that gets people unexpectedly talking - about art.

That is an amazing accomplishment and one that warrants letting the piece stay put on the plains east of town for the foreseeable future.