so Denver International Airport famously (semi-famously? I don’t know how well known it is outside Colorado; everyone knows it back home) has this art installation of a bright blue, vaguely skeletal, giant metal horse with glowing red eyes:
and the sculpture literally murdered its creator (the head fell on him while he was assembling it).
And I just learned today that the reason we have Giant Blue Devil Horse With Glowing Eyes is because Colorado has a law that 1% of the cost of large building projects must be spent on acquisition of works of art. This makes me mad. If you want to support the arts you can do so directly; I’m okay with government funding of art museums and such. But demanding that all new building projects spend part of their budget on artwork is just shifting the cost off somewhere where it won’t be noticed but will contribute to the overall cost of housing and development.
And it’s not like you can really incentivize art very well this way. You can make a company spend a million dollars on art installations but you can’t make the art tasteful, or pretty, or not-a-giant-murderous-blue-horse-with-glowing-red-eyes. I like Devil Horse (some people call him Blucifer) a lot better now that I’m thinking of him as a protest against the idea that mandatory money for art is a good way to protect our values or develop our cities. In fact, I think Blucifer should be some sort of mascot of the futility of trying to manage city development through regulation of new construction instead of through direct investment in the things you care about. If you make bad choices with incentives, you will get murdered by your own creation, and its piercing red eyes will stare down travelers forever more. We should consider ourselves warned.
That’s a conspiracy theorist style site but it was the best source for the images of the murals that wasn’t Buzzfeed or another clickbaity site.
Anyway all that fucked up art helped fuel conspiracy theories that the airport was constructed to be a New World Order detainee processing/detainment facility and all this other wacky shit that really stuck with me since I read it all as a kid. I don’t believe it, but man those murals are fucked up.
How to abuse:
Do the entire airport as you would without this law. Then spend the remaining art budget on a simple painting made by a homeless person. If anybody complains, tell them art is subjective and this was definitely the best you could do with that money.