Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Denver International Airport's Egyptian god of death claims first victim

Denver International Airport has already inspired a planeload of conspiracy theories -- that it's built on an Indian graveyard, that aliens live in tunnels below the terminal, that it's set up to become a concentration camp for Denver citizens.

The long-delayed installation of Luis Jimenez's red-eyed demon horse, "Mustang," which killed the artist while he was constructing it, didn't help DIA's devilish reputation any. And now, the 26-foot statue of Anubis, the Egyptian god of death, has drawn its first blood.

The sculpture is intended to support the King Tut exhibit coming to the Denver Art Museum next month. But instead, it's likely to support more conspiracy theories.

Soon, Anubis will oversee the death of one of the original pieces of DIA art: "Mountain Mirage," the sculpture/fountain in the main terminal. For the first three years of its life, a cactus garden occupied the supposed fountain because the system that was supposed to shoot water into the air, creating the silhouette of a mountain range, leaked down into the trains that transported travelers to the concourses. And even when it was working, the anemic flow made the piece look much more like a "Molehill Mirage." But since it started leaking again, the fountain's been turned off for more than a year, and now it's headed for the scrap heap, like the automated baggage system that never even got started at DIA.

Score one for Anubis. Now let's see if he can work his magic on "Mustang."

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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