Public art is one of the best ways to help form the identity of a city. The truth is, however, that art is highly subjective and what some may consider genius, others may call an eyesore. No matter how you look at it, Denver has many wonderful and truly bizarre pieces of public art. From 40-foot tall bears to piles of red sausages, there is plenty of art out there to spark up a lively and creative debate.

The Mustang statue at Denver International Airport (credit: CBS)

“Mustang” by Luis Jimenez
Denver International Airport
8500 Pena Blvd.
Denver, CO 80249
www.denvergov.orgOne of the first pieces of art that greets everyone entering the Mile High City is a 32-foot tall fiberglass statue of a blue horse. The statue has received much attention over the years for being one of the most terrifying and controversial pieces of art to ever grace an airport. Originally commissioned in 1992 for $300,000, the statue was in development for more than 14 years. In 2006, the huge beast fell and pinned the 66-year-old artist, killing him on his studio floor. Perhaps the statue is cursed or perhaps it stands as a tribute to a fallen artist, but no matter, it is a very bizarre piece of public art.

PHOTO GALLERY: DIA Mustang Sculpture

“The Dancers” outside the Denver Center for the Performing Arts complex (credit: Jeff Beavers)

“Dancers” by Jonathan Borofsky
Denver Center for Performing Arts
1101 13th St.
Denver, CO 80204
www.borofsky.comTake a drive down Speer Boulevard and you can’t miss the six-story white dancing aliens welcoming visitors to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. At more than 60-feet tall, these bright statues have been the subject of many criticisms and complaints while others find them charming and even beautiful. The statues are meant to appear in a state of perpetual dancing, complete with music composed by the artist himself wafting up from speakers that surround the sculpture. At more than 25 tons, this steel and fiberglass sculpture is certainly one of the largest pieces of bizarre art in Denver.

“Articulated Wall” by Herbert Bayers
Denver Design Center
595 S. Broadway
Denver, CO 80209

One of the oldest and most well-known bizarre sculptures in Denver has got to be “Articulated Wall” by Herbert Bayer. Originally erected in 1985, this towering sculpture rises over 50 feet and is visible from I-25 and the whole surrounding area. The bright yellow sculpture has been the subject of many discussions over the years. What is it? Is it a giant stack of french fries, pieces of cheese or building blocks? Interestingly, the piece was originally built for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and is held together with a mast taken from an aircraft carrier.

CBS4 Critic at Large Greg Moody next to the public art installation “I See What You Mean” (credit: CBS)

“I See What You Mean” by Lawrence Argent
Colorado Convention Center
700 14th St.
Denver, CO 80202
www.lawrenceargent.comMost people call it the Big Blue Bear, however the actual title is “I See What You Mean.” The 40-foot-tall blue bear is one of the most iconic pieces of public art in Denver and it has quickly become an icon for the downtown area of the Mile High City. The statue is designed to bring a sense of whimsy and creativity to the Convention Center instead of the usual bland and boring style of most convention centers. In an interview with Visit Denver, the artist Lawrence Argent explained his feelings on the bear and the Convention Center, “To me, it’s kind of like the bear needs the building and the building needs the bear.”

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“National Velvet” by John McEnroe
16th St. Pedestrian Bridge
16th St. and Platte St.
Denver, CO 80202

At the base of the 16th Street Pedestrian Bridge sits a giant red sculpture. It looks a bit like a red Christmas tree or perhaps a stack of glowing red sausages, and it is another on the great list of bizarre public art in Denver. Titled “National Velvet” by the creator John McEnroe, it is meant to conjure many different interpretations with playfulness and scale. It does definitely conjure plenty of images. This piece of art is the perfect example to show just how subject art really is. However one thing is for sure, it can’t be missed.

Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at