Five of Denver’s most mysterious works of public art

Denver is teeming with public art, from murals of local legends to sculptures by internationally renowned artists. Some works have become so famous that they are almost synonymous with the city, at least for art lovers, like “The Yearling” or the big blue bear entitled “I see what you mean. “Others are just confusing to see, and a few – notably ‘Blue Mustang’ – have confusing stories behind them.

Here are five of Denver’s most mysterious works of public art:

The escalator of laughter “
Colorado Convention Center
Jim Green’s “Laughing Escalator” was installed at the Colorado Convention Center in 2004, and has been annoying unconscious cyclists ever since. Using a four-channel sound installation, the escalator descending into the pre-function area of ​​the ballroom plays recorded laughter through the cracks between its steps. According to Denver Public Art, “a variety of clear, healthy voices will be used” for the “outdoor sound mixing. [that creates] a model of constantly evolving rhythms built from laughter. These days, with COVID reducing crowds, the sounds can seem particularly ghostly; you may prefer to take the stairs.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Click to enlarge


Denver Public Art

This seven-foot-tall bronze sphere appears to be waiting for such a large beetle to push it, and as you approach “Rondure” outside the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, you’ll find that it does too. noise. The motion-activated sound features cries of wild animals found in Colorado, which artist Nikki Pike has collaborated with BARTer collective. To the work itself, Pike applied a texture reminiscent of the bark of a tree, giving the sphere a natural effect that complements the sounds of nature.

Blucifer “
Denver Intl Airport
The slightly terrifying 32-foot-tall blue horse outside Denver International Airport was given the nickname “Blucifer” not only for its glowing neon eyes, but for its history of creation: the making of this sculpture has killed Luis Jiménez. The part was ordered for the airport then still closed in 1993; the New Mexico artist was far from the deadline and was being sued by the city while working in his studio in 2006. That’s when part of the current horse fell on him and killed him; his sons completed the project. The sculpture was inspired by an old Colorado legend about a blue mustang stallion leading other horses to water and even to steal; the flaming eyes were added as a tribute to Jiménez’s father, who owned a neon sign store. It’s certainly an unforgettable sight for those entering or leaving the city (although we wish people would stop thinking that it symbolizes the Broncos).

Click to enlarge "National Velvet" - PUBLIC ART OF DENVER

“Velvet National”

Denver Public Art

National Velvet “
Rue de la Platte

John McEnroe’s sculpture near the 16th Street Pedestrian Bridge has sparked controversy since it was installed in 2008. The twenty-foot-tall obelisk is made up of what looks like melting jelly beans gathered into an almost shape. similar to a Christmas tree which is highlighted by interior lighting. The sculpture won the People’s Choice Award for Best Public Art the year it was installed, but not everyone is happy with it, with a Westword wag labeling it “Saggy Boob, Electric Penis.”

“Sky song

Levitt Hall
Works like “Sky Song” only come to life through interaction with their viewers – and sometimes aren’t even recognized as works of art. The installation at the Levitt Pavilion by Denver artists Nick Geurts and Ryan Elmendorf doesn’t appear like a traditional sculpture, but its 33 buttons invite passers-by to interact with it and understand exactly what it is and does. The eight-foot-high polished steel structure and its surroundings are button activated, which activate the sounds of bells and wind chimes when the surroundings are calm, or cast lights on the facade of the amphitheater when in. a concert. It’s easy to miss, but strangely haunting.

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