Tuesday, December 02, 2003

X Declared Art

Six Flags Magic Mountain has proudly announced that its revolutionary roller coaster, X, has been designated a work of art by the National Foundation for the Humanities.

Vladimir Glasnow, spokesman for the NFH, said the decision was an easy one for the renowned organization to make. "We have several criteria we apply to objects that we are considering," he said. "First, it must be revolutionary. This gravity device certainly is that. Second, it must have tremendous visual impact. Naturally, anyone who has seen the remarkable color scheme of this device and its innovative use of curvilinear patterns will agree that there is nothing in the world quite like it. Thirdly, a work of art must bring the viewer closer to a sense of spirituality. Certainly, everyone who had ridden this device has claimed to have experienced nirvana."

Kieran Burke, President of Six Flags Corporation, was clearly pleased with the designation. "Six Flags prides itself on innovation. We are honored that such a distinguished organization has recognized our leadership in providing a quality experience for our guests."

This is the first time an amusement device has been declared a work of art. Alan Schilke, the designer of the ride that was built by S & S Power, Inc., of Logan, Utah, remarked, "We in the industry have known all along that there is an inherent beauty in any well-designed ride. Since X is probably the only thing I will ever be known for in my life, I'm glad that my genius has been acknowledged."

Melanie Craft, a longtime member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts, the largest roller coaster group in the world, was extremely pleased. "ACE worked long and hard to bring this coaster to the attention of the NFH. Maintenance costs have been so high that we were afraid the ride would be torn down. Since it doesn't operate too often, many ACErs would never get a chance to ride it. By having it designated a work of art, Six Flags can know that there's enormous value in having hundreds of tons of gorgeous pink and yellow iron just sitting there quietly for people to admire."

The NFH has recommended that a full-scale replica of the ride be housed in the Smithsonian Institute. Six Flags Magic Mountain generously offered to give the Smithsonian its actual ride, if the museum would pay for the dismantling and transport.

"This is an extremely generous offer," said the Institute's marketing director Beryl Handy. "However, due to space restrictions we probably could only take one of the trains that they never use."

When asked whether any other amusement rides might be considered for recognition by the NFH, Glasnow responded, "X is an exception, certainly unique in the world. But we wouldn't rule it out." Craft had her own nomination: "Chance Toboggan's are dope! The sinuous trackage and the retro-50s look make them a shoe-in!"