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Adorable, super-sized rabbits are taking over downtown Denver this month. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Parer)

Look Out For Giant Inflatable Bunnies To Pop Up Downtown

A welcome addition to Denver's strange yet magnificent public art scene.

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Denverites are likely used to seeing bunnies hopping around their yards—but they probably haven’t seen ones quite like this.

Australian artist Amanda Parer‘s five bunnies stand up to 39 feet tall (that’s about four stories). They are sewn from white nylon, inflated, and then lit from the inside. While you can’t jump on the art, you are welcome to get up close and touch—or even hug—them. Together they make up Intrude, a public art exhibition that’s making its way to Denver from June 17 to 26 as part of a four-city U.S. tour (it’s already shown around the world, from London to Perth). “Wherever the bunnies are on display, I want them to look like they have just hopped in and made themselves at home,” Parer says.

Two of the rabbits were commissioned by Arts Brookfield, the cultural arm of Brookfield, which owns Republic Plaza and 1801 California in downtown Denver. The goal of the group is to animate public spaces, particularly non-traditional venues. In this case, that means its two Mile High City office buildings. Two rabbits will be placed at one property, and three at the other.

Rabbits have been a longtime muse for Parer, who often featured them in her paintings and sculptures before she turned her attention to installation art. The idea of crafting them in 3-D came from seeing images of the giant balloons at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But Parer’s ginormous bunnies aren’t just cute to look at and rack up Instagram likes; she crafted them with a serious environmental message in mind. Says Parer, “In Australia, the rabbit is an introduced species. Since its introduction by the first settlers just over 200 years ago, this animal has caused much destruction to the habitats of the native flora and fauna. I use Australia’s history with the rabbit as an example of our mismanagement of the environment, even on a global scale.”

This is art in its truest—if not most traditional—form: engaging, imaginative, and infused with purpose. “I love art, and I love what art can do,” Parer says. “I get a little frustrated that art is usually boxed and framed in a way that attracts those who can either afford it or who already frequent galleries. I believe art has more potential than that. The beauty of art is its ability to be multi-layered. What better way to communicate a dark message but with a joke?”

Details: Intrude is on display at Republic Plaza (370 17th St.) and 1801 California. It’s free to view. The hours are: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., June 17–18 and June 23–25; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., June 19 and 26.

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