Reared on a berm in front of Denver International Airport, stands a creation vast in both stature and lore: Blucifer. Some say the beast is cursed, a demonic design responsible for the murder of its creator, an allegory of the conspiracy surrounding its home, DIA. Others view a controversial piece of art with over a decade’s long debate of aesthetic value and intention.
What is certain is that Luis Jimenez and his final statue Blue Mustang have lived an eventful yet traumatic, life. Their story provides some answers and insight to a few inquisitions, but in the end there are some questions that can never be fully answered.
In order to fully grasp the sentiments associated with Blue Mustang or ‘Blucifer’ as local friends and foes sculpture refer to him, we must explore the mysteries and conspiracy theories of Denver’s airport. I admit this will get a little tin-foil-hatty, but take the red pill for a moment and perhaps you’ll emerge with a new perspective.
What is certain is that Luis Jimenez and his final statue Blue Mustang have lived an eventful yet traumatic, life.
On February 28th, 1995, Denver International Airport officially opened. $2,000,000,000 over budget (around $3,400,000,000 in today’s dollars) and 16 months behind schedule, the state was facing questions. (Despite governmental excuses of contractor issues, weather, and FAA/ airline red tape, people sought alternative answers.)
Prior to DIA, there was Stapleton International Airport. Opened in 1929, Stapleton Airport was certainly aging but was physically closer to Downtown Denver. Stapleton was a 10-minute drive From the Denver suburbs. Compare to DIA, which even in the best traffic is a 30-minute trip to the outskirts of urban sprawl. When they shut it down in 1995, Stapleton actually had more runways than the new and costly DIA. This is where the theories started to formulate. Why would public officials commit to such an expensive project? Why build a massive new airport, which to date is still the largest by land area in North America, with fewer runways and located further away from the eponymous city center?
The standard answer is that these steps were necessary for the future of expansion of both Denver and its airport. A reasonable answer, perhaps a little too reasonable. The delays in construction were thought to be in relation to FAA and specific airline requirements along with legal issues with the different companies contracted with different sections of development. However, multiple conspiracist sources site an original nameless construction worker who adamantly claimed that the delays were actually due to a vast network of underground buildings and tunnels. Another oft cited claim is the amount of fiber optic lines used in construction resembled that of an entire city, rather than the expected amount for a single airport. Supposedly, Teflon coated fiberglass implemented in underground development to counteract any potential ground penetrating radar.
Multiple conspiracist sources site an original nameless construction worker who adamantly claimed that the delays were actually due to a vast network of underground buildings and tunnels.
Is this why no one has been able to get an accurate or whole picture of what’s actually under DIA? It’s possible… though national security and FAA regulations also present a rational explanation. Today there’s an intra-airport train system to transport passengers to different terminals via underground tunnels.
All we can be certain of is that there was significant mismanagement of public funds for this project. Then again, the state bureaucracy was leading the charge so… par for the course. Despite all the unverifiable claims that circle this story, one observable clue that lends itself to the biggest conspiracy surrounding DIA is the Dedication Stone.
Located near the south of the airport’s main concourse is a large granite plaque commemorating the airport construction and coupled with a time capsule which is to be opened by the “People of Colorado in 2094,” 100 years after the engraved date March 19, 1994. Right above that date, there is an engraving of the Freemason Square and Compass. The Freemasons are a fraternal organization whose origins trace back to 1717 Europe. The organization stems from stone mason founders and include elite member of our countries history such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, FDR, Gerald Ford, and even Buzz Aldrin to name a few. Due to the mysterious ritualistic nature of the group and its association with powerful people, many led themselves to an idea that Freemasons and the New World Order set on world dominance were one in the same.
One name left off the aforementioned list… Wellington Webb, Denver’s ex-mayor (1991-2003), and head of the DIA development project. On the dedications on the stone, unveiled by Mayor Wellington, “New World Airport Commission” leads the list. Nothing verifiable could be found as the origins of this group, and thus it has spawned the most intricate and grandiose theories. A conspiracy of the New World Order, The Illuminati, the secret society of global elite bent on global control. New World Airport Commission is neither trademarked nor registered. If the group is a real functioning organization, there is nothing I’ve been able to find about its founding, mission statement, or location, just adding to the overall aura surrounding this mystery.
To put this all together would look like something out of a Dan Brown novel. A group of wealthy CEOs and politicians, in concurrence with the Freemasons, see the need for a new headquarters and organize a cabal to purchase a mass amount of land on the far outskirts of Denver where there would be no prying eyes, no previous underground development, and a perfect disguise to their true intentions. Sophisticated underground tunnels and shelters constructed with miles of fiber optic cable and reinforced with radar dampening material, to be used as a command center for Armageddon.
A group of wealthy CEOs and politicians, in concurrence with the Freemasons, see the need for a new headquarters and organize a cabal to purchase a mass amount of land on the far outskirts of Denver where there would be no prying eyes, no previous underground development, and a perfect disguise to their true intentions.
Enter the 32-foot, 9000 pound, black-veined, red-eyed behemoth standing reared to attack at the entrance to DIA. Blucifer was commissioned by the city for the airport in 1993, prior to its official opening. The making of the mustang mirrored the airport’s construction dilemmas. Finally delivered in February, 2008, Blue Mustang was 13-years behind schedule and lavishly over-budget, officially costing $650,000. Perhaps most damning, in 2006, Blucifer was responsible for the death of his creator, 65-year old Luis Jimenez. The rear section of Blucifer became unhinged in Jimenez’s New Mexico studio, crushing his leg severing his femoral artery. Jimenez had already finished Blucifer’s head, and with the help of his studio team plus his two sons the commission was delivered and unveiled at DIA posthumously.
The revelation prompted immediate backlash. Many felt Blue Mustang was hostile, and there were better uses for the money. At the very least, the location was puzzling as the sculpture was not terribly welcoming to travelers. The seemingly belligerent horse raised questions over what Denver’s art representation should look like. With Mr. Jimenez deceased and unable to answer the many queries, minds began to speculate.
With the Illuminati conspiracy in full pledge, Blucifer fit right into the stories. This hellacious horse with glowing red eyes must have been cursed or a symbol of the New World Order. It is worth noting, Denver Art Policy states that commissioned public art must remain in place for 5 years before accepting petitions for removal. This buffered the immediate ruckus and buoyed any actionable authority from taking it down. Still, this statue did have very peculiar features, and was responsible for the artist’s death.
Luis Jimenez Jr. was born July 30th, 1940 in El Paso, Texas. His father, Luis Sr., was a Mexican refugee who came to the US as a child. An artist as well, Luis Sr had an aptitude in glass blowing, sculpting, and painting. He developed his own neon-sign shop and began a career in neon sign making for stores across the nation. Luis Jr. started out working in his dad’s shop when he was 6 years old, learning different techniques and absorbing his Mexican heritage while growing up in El Paso.
With the success of his father’s business, Luis Jr was able to study at the University of Texas, receiving his Bachelor’s in Art after originally studying architecture at his father’s demand. With tension in their relationship over course work, Jimenez went to Mexico for post-graduate studies before moving to New York to accelerate his career in sculpting. His signature look was always fiber glass sculptures, bold and robust in style and colors. A theme in many of his pieces was Native Mexican and American heritage, and celebrations of ferocity and freedom.
Aside from Blucifer, Jiménez Jr’s other notable works include Man on Fire, a painted fiber glass sculpture stoically posed engulfed in flame was commissioned for the Smithsonian American Art museum. Created in 1969, it was meant as a representation of Cuauhtémoc, an Aztec Ruler tortured by fire in the Spanish Inquisition, and Thic Quang Duc, the Buddhist monk who set himself on fire in protest of the Vietnam War.
Jimenez was not shy about making a personal statement in his art. Another work, Vaquero, featured a slightly smaller blue mustang with a black mane, mid buck and mounted by a Hispanic hero with sword on his hip, firing his gun in celebration. This work was commissioned for a pedestal in the middle of Moody Park in Houston. Not only was personal history and meaning vital to Jimenez’s creations, but an equally important aspect was the culture of it’s eventual destination. Jimenez would specifically ask if the piece was going to be indoors or out, the type of person who would be viewing his art, and sentiments of the community to other art pieces in the surrounding areas. No detail was overlooked, every crease was unwaveringly sculpted.
In a conversation with Texas Monthly in 1998, 5 years after he was paid to create Blue Mustang for DIA, Jimenez told the interviewer that “the purpose of public art is to start a dialogue.” Conversation, representation, and authenticity were values that Jimenez used in all his work.
Jimenez also “believe[d] in the idea of Jungian idea of archetypal images” and “believe[d] they exist culture to culture.” It’s a concept stemming from Carl Jung, German psychoanalyst from the early 1900’s, that there are constructs or motifs that are understood by the unconscious and shared across humanity. Jimenez supposed his inner-most expression would come forward regardless of intent, but more prominently, that the audience would have an innate perspective to recognize major themes. Irrespective of your take on Jungian psychology, there is a purity in that sentiment as well as some truth.
No matter what background you come from, the sight and scale of Blucifer is striking and imposing.
Relating to Blucifer, the power-laden horse represents just that, at its core. No matter what background you come from, the sight and scale of Blucifer is striking and imposing. There is no mistaking the intent even without explanation. Jimenez was never trying make you understand his exact vision, but instead sought to create that ‘dialogue’ with instinctive emotion.
Regardless of an individuals’ specific beliefs in regards to DIA, Blucifer, and the conspiracies interlaced between them, those beliefs stem form an intrinsic understanding. However, in an ironic twist of fate fitting to this story, people’s innate interpretations in this case fluctuate from rational to simply ‘I WANT TO BELIEVE.’ The complexity of circumstances surrounding DIA’s construction and unveiling, coupled with a common desire for intrigue, is reflective of the erratic nature of public discourse. While there can never be definitive answers there can still be respective discord. All this is manifest in Blue Mustang.
Considering context, it seems apparent that Blucifer was never cursed. I believe he is meant to represent the powerful and wild spirit of the American West and the freedom that came with it. The neon red LEDs used for his eyes were a nod to Jimenez’s father and his own childhood in that shop. It’s also said that Jimenez knew of a Colorado legend particular to the San Juan Valley and the early nomads who roamed the land seasonally. A massive blue mustang with red eyes that ran in the air and led his herd to water in food in the harsh winters. Either way, when observed in relation to Luis’s own statements on public art, it’s clear he succeeded in his purpose of creating dialogue. In today’s world of sensational chaos and mistrust, dialogue is needed more than ever.