'Mustang' sculpture kills creator

June 17, 2006 at 6:05 PM
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NORMAN, Okla., June 17 (UPI) -- The controversial sculpture of a rearing "Mustang" now stands as a memorial to artist Luis Jimenez, who was killed in a freak accident Wednesday in Hondo, N.M.

Jimenez was nearing completion of a 32-foot version of "Mustang" to be placed at an airport in Denver when a piece of it broke off as he and two assistants tried to move it, the Oklahoman said. The piece severed Jimenez's femoral artery and he died of blood loss, Oklahoma University museum Director Eric Lee said.

The 8-foot sculpture with its glowing red eyes and neon sheen first appeared out of the University of Oklahoma's Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.

Born in a barrio in El Paso, Texas, Jimenez first learned about art by reading books while working in his father's electric and neon sign shop. He visited museums and murals in Mexico City before embarking on formal training in the late 1960s.

Jimenez, 65, is best known for his large, sleek, sometimes controversial sculptures of Mexican cowboys and horses. He celebrated the connection between history and modern culture and frequently said he liked that his work sparked dialogue about art. His works are displayed widely in the United States.

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