Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Denver International Airport artworks that fly -- and terrify

Denver International Airport has thirty pieces of art in its permanent collection, not including "Mountain Mirage," which will soon disappear entirely, and Anubis, the Tut-touting statue at DIA until late this month.

Too bad it won't be around longer: I like having the God of the Underworld greeting visitors at an airport that's inspired conspiracy theories. Still, there are other worthy sights at this site. My top five:

5. "Mustang," by Luis Jimenez. Yes, the blue devil horse ranks on my five worst list, too. But any piece of art that gets this many people talking (about how it killed its creator, among other things) is worth keeping around.

4. "Kinetic Air Light Curtain," by Antonette Rosato and William Maxwell. The tiny propellers in the tunnel are so fun, you almost forget those bossy voices that chastise you for delaying the departure of the train.

3. "Experimental Aviation," by Patty Ortiz. Those metallic "paper" airplanes overhead as you make your way to baggage are still a soaring achievement.

2. "Notre Denver," by Terry Allen. You'll have plenty of time to appreciate these gargoyles while the airlines search for your lost luggage.

1. "America, Why I Love Her," by Gary Sweeney. Ironically, Sweeney, a Continental baggage handler as well as important member of Denver's co-op art scene, had to move from Denver to Texas when Continental pulled its hub from Denver's new airport. But Sweeney still loves this city, as well as the rest of the country's attractions he celebrates in these two pieces.

What are your top five?.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun