The Art of the Deal

The planets in the art world must have been out of whack yesterday, because tragedy befell two of its biggest stars.

Daniel Libeskind had to cancel his presentation on his vision for Civic Center Park that was scheduled for Thursday, June 15. The architect of the Denver Art Museum's new Hamilton Building was hospitalized last night from complications relating to an earlier oral surgery and was unable to travel. There will be no presentation tomorrow, but a rain date will be scheduled in the next couple of weeks.

And sculptor Luis Jimenez was killed last night by his monumental sculpture "Mustang." Yes, that "Mustang" ("Pony Up," October 20, 2005). The New Mexico artist was working on the piece, long promised to Denver International Airport, when it fell on him and severed an artery. He was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

"Mustang" has been a source of controversy since DIA's public-art program commissioned the piece in 1992, with plans to install it outside the Jeppesen Terminal. The airport's completion date got pushed back a few times before it opened in 1995, but the "Mustang" delivery date got pushed back even further, even though Jimenez had been paid half of the $300,000 price tag. After many missed deadlines and more than a few rounds in lawyer's offices, Jimenez had promised to deliver the 32-foot-tall horse by October 15, 2005, but it galloped through that deadline and bucked a subsequent one last month.

"I can't give you a date right now," the 65-year-old artist told Westword last October, "but the sculpture is doing really well. I've completed all the clay and all the molds. The head has been totally finished, and the mid-section has been, actually, pretty much finished casting. That leaves us with just the last bottom section. I don't have a big crew, you know, and I didn't farm this out."

The fate of the sculpture remains unknown at this time. — Amy Haimerl

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Dave Herrera
Contact: Dave Herrera