Does DIA have the best art of any airport? Or just the freakiest?

Denver International Airport has an out-of-this-world art collection -- literally, if you believe the people who think some of the pieces speak to the Martians that inhabit those underground tunnels, or predict the coming of the New World Order, or simply signify hell on earth -- in the form of "Blucifer," one of the many nicknames for "Mustang," the giant blue horse so devilish that it killed its creator, Luis Jimenez. Which is why it's so unjust that both Albuquerque and Pittsburgh have pulled ahead of DIA in the "Best U.S. Airport for Art" contest now being run by USA Today.

And not only does DIA have an award-winning collection that came with the construction of the airport back in the '90s, but it's commissioning still more art to go with the Hotel and Transit Center (formerly known as the South Terminal Redevelopment Program), which will bring the total for the collection to $5.2 million.

Does DIA have the best art of any airport? Or just the freakiest?

"Airports have been transforming themselves from utilitarian hubs of transport to spaces in which we don't mind spending time," USA Today pronounces. "A renaissance has occurred beyond great restaurants, comfy lounges and terrific shopping, though; airports also uplift their visitors through the utilization of beautiful works of art. In this contest category, airport columnist Harriet Baskas has nominated twenty airports as contenders for Best U.S. Airports for Art."

You can vote for the home team once a day until noon, November 11 at; the winners will be announced on November 13. But whatever Denver's place in this contest, it will always rate first with conspiracy theorists everywhere.

And "Mustang" will continue to rank as the favorite with travelers, according to the DIA Art Master Plan survey done two years ago. But hold your horses: It also ranks as their least favorite piece.

More from the Calhoun: Wake Up Call archive: "'Mustang' -- is DIA's devil horse the ugliest public art in the world?"

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