Denver’s God-Awful Light-Up Monstrosity


At the entrance to Denver’s 16th Street Pedestrian Bridge is a big red light-up sculpture called “National Velvet.”  But instead of something that looks like it could be anywhere reminiscint of the title, it looks like a large red pile of oversized kidney beans.  Or, as in Denver Westard writer Joel Warner’s article, “Saggy Boob Electric Penis.”

Or “Wet Salami.”
Or “Tower of Power.”
Or “Kidney Beans.”

At night, when it’s all illuminated from inside, it looks like what I imagine the inside of my large intestine looks like after a night of eating meat.

Another article claiming BS on “National Velvet” is Mile Hive.  I mean, come on.  $50,000 to John McEnroe for this?  I consider myself a learned man, versed in design, art and art history, and the intricacies of light as it interacts with our lives.  I have a hard time getting this one.  Does that mean it’s wrong?  Not necessarily.  But I’m not alone in my distaste.  No offense Mayor Hickenlooper, but that $50,000 monstrosity is terrible.  Come on.  Also, no offense to the sculptor, John McEnroe, but that thing is terrible.  Denver residents, especially a lot of those who live in the Highland, aren’t pleased with “National Velvet.”

But I like “Saggy Boob Electric Penis” much more as an official name.  Check it out for yourself.

One of my favorite comments from the Denver Westward article:

Amy Berglund says:

Is the great neighborhood of Highland such a joke to you, Mr. Mayor, that you would so offend her residents by placing this most ridiculous “thing” at the entrance to our home? Is the current state of the economy merely a fantasy to you that you would waste our taxpayers’ hard earned dollars on this abhorrent piece of trash masquerading as public art? Given our current economic woes, can Denver’s elected officials not find a better use for this $50,000, especially at the Holiday season? Have you lost all respect for yourself and the constituents you serve that you would choose to use our tax dollars for this disgusting display? Christmas presents for underprivileged children, feeding the homeless and providing heat for those who cannot afford it are just a few of the real needs that $50,000 would help to address. You should be ashamed and utterly embarrassed by your actions today of “leaping up and caressing the bulging monument”. Have you no class or discretion? As a long time Highland resident I am completely outraged! The pedestrian bridge that we all waited patiently for is now marred, and as a taxpayer, I demand its immediate removal, an apology from the city and a guarantee this type of wasteful indiscretion will not happen again.

AND, in a press release, this is what Denver has to say about it:

“Utilizing sand as the building blocks for a dynamic new visual motif, National Velvet conjures up multiple interpretations through its towering form and the tendrils that spiral through it. Viewers will delight in the sheer scale and playfulness of the work, the dominant red-hue piercing through the sky, both through the day and when lit from within at night.”

Not to be overdone, here’s an image from SomethingAwful Forums.

Barf.  I hate it.

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  1. Glad to know that my taxpayer money is being spent like this. This reminds me of a pile of molten “S**t”. Gotta love those politicians

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