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US Is the Utah monolith this year's viral art moment?

13:50  05 december  2020
13:50  05 december  2020 Source:   cnn.com

People have tracked down the mystery Utah monolith

  People have tracked down the mystery Utah monolith The metal monolith sits deep in a desert easy to get lost in, so officials did not reveal its location.When officials in Utah revealed they had found a shimmering, metal structure deep in the Red Rock desert, they refused to say exactly where.

State employee spotted mysterious metal structure amid red rocks while counting bighorn sheep.

A Weird Monolith Is Found in the Utah Desert. As Utah officials shared photos of the discovery, many other observers noticed the similarity, especially in one photo The Art Newspaper observed that the object resembled the “free-standing plank sculptures” of the Minimalist artist John McCracken

Is it art or the work of aliens? This question has enthralled the internet since the discovery and disappearance of an enigmatic 10-foot-tall silver structure among the red rocks of remote southeastern Utah last month.

a large mountain in the desert: This Nov. 27, 2020 photo by Terrance Siemon shows a monolith that was placed in a red-rock desert in an undisclosed location in San Juan County southeastern Utah. New clues have surfaced in the disappearance of the gleaming monolith in Utah that seemed to melt away as mysteriously as it appeared in the red-rock desert. A Colorado photographer told a TV station in Salt Lake City that he saw four men push over the hollow, stainless steel structure in Utah on Friday night. (Terrance Siemon via AP) © Terrance Siemon/AP This Nov. 27, 2020 photo by Terrance Siemon shows a monolith that was placed in a red-rock desert in an undisclosed location in San Juan County southeastern Utah. New clues have surfaced in the disappearance of the gleaming monolith in Utah that seemed to melt away as mysteriously as it appeared in the red-rock desert. A Colorado photographer told a TV station in Salt Lake City that he saw four men push over the hollow, stainless steel structure in Utah on Friday night. (Terrance Siemon via AP)

Dubbed the "Utah monolith," the object was likened to the unsettling extraterrestrial machines -- also of uncertain origins -- from Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey." It was found, by chance, during a routine helicopter flight by Utah's Department of Public Safety (DPS). And its mystery only deepened when an internet sleuth on Reddit posted Google Earth images suggesting that it had been around since 2016.

The mysterious monolith in the Utah desert is now gone

  The mysterious monolith in the Utah desert is now gone Officials say it has been removed, but not by them.But now, according to officials from the Bureau of Land Management in Utah, the strange metal object is gone.

Wildlife officials have stumbled upon a bizarre monolith -like structure in the Utah desert, prompting the internet to pump out Stanley Kubrick jokes and lamentations Utah Wildlife Resources discovered a monolith in the desert. So after all that' s happened this year , 2020 ends with an alien invasion. 👽.

The Utah Department of Public Safety said the object was found in a “very remote” area of the desert, deliberately withholding its location to prevent people from attempting to visit. “One of the biologists is the one who spotted it and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it,” Hutchings added.

a sign on the side of a mountain: Hikers discovered a third monolith in Atascadero, California on Tuesday, December 2. Though copycats have added new enticing chapters to the mystery, erecting installations without permits is illegal and could attract visitors who damage the land. © Kaytlyn Leslie/The Tribune of San Luis Obispo/AP Hikers discovered a third monolith in Atascadero, California on Tuesday, December 2. Though copycats have added new enticing chapters to the mystery, erecting installations without permits is illegal and could attract visitors who damage the land.

The Utah monolith may be a few centuries younger than the prehistoric stone circle of Stonehenge or the statues of Easter Island, which have both seen their fair share of alien theories, but the silver pillar had a similar aura of mystery around it. As with those works, the public wanted to know: Who made it and why?

"I think many people immediately saw it through the lens of (land art) -- the history of artists making interventions in the landscape," said senior curator at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Whitney Tassie, over video. The state is known for its history of awe-inspiring earthworks, including Robert Smithson's "Spiral Jetty" on Great Salt Lake and Nancy Holt's concrete cylindrical "Sun Tunnels," which align with sunrise and sunset during the solstices.

Mysterious metal monolith discovered in Utah disappears

  Mysterious metal monolith discovered in Utah disappears The mysterious metal monolith discovered earlier this month in a remote area of Utah has disappeared, less than a week after the structure was confirmed by state officials.The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Utah said in a Saturday statement that they received "credible reports" that the three-sided monolith was removed Friday evening from the area of public lands in southeastern Utah where it was initially discovered on Nov. 18.BLM said that they did not remove the structure, and the local sheriff's office would be responsible for investigating the removal.

Two Utah residents said they took part in the removal. Mr. Lewis is a 34- year -old slackline performer who specializes in high-altitude stunts and brought his sport to But art -world speculation had not yielded too many facts. Initially, the monolith was linked to John McCracken, a California-born artist

Mystery monolith disappears from Utah desert. "The wilderness areas -- Mother Nature is the artist up there and we need to leave the art to her." One of the individuals who helped remove the monolith announced in a post on social media Tuesday that he and a team were responsible for removing the

a hand holding a cell phone: Maurizio Cattelan's © Cindy Ord/Getty Images Maurizio Cattelan's "Comedian" consisted of a banana duct-taped to a wall. One of the editions sold for $120,000 -- and then someone ate it.

The most compelling and poetic argument -- that it was the work of late Minimalist sculptor John McCracken, and somehow installed after his death in 2011 -- was made by his gallerist, David Zwirner, on November 27 but retracted only three days later.

"When you look closely at the photos of the Utah monolith, you will see rivets and screws that are not consistent with how John wanted his work to be constructed," Zwirner said in a statement. "He was a perfectionist."

A private gesture made public

Since the monolith was first discovered, the drama has unfolded across several acts.

After people began arriving at its newly revealed location, the monolith was swiftly removed -- an act broadcast on TikTok -- by a group claiming to be concerned about the impact that eager tourists could have on the land. In a cheeky statement, Utah DPS reminded followers that installing art without authorization is illegal "no matter what planet you're from," while Tassie emphasized the importance of formal processes for land art, including conducting studies to understand how the work will affect the environment.

Utah monolith: The mysterious silver monolith in the desert has disappeared

  Utah monolith: The mysterious silver monolith in the desert has disappeared A tall, silver, shining metal monolith discovered in the desert in southeastern Utah -- which prompted theories of alien placement and drew determined hikers to its secret location -- has now disappeared.The monolith was removed by an "unknown party" sometime Friday night, the agency said in a Facebook post.

A strange metal monolith has been discovered in the Utah desert by a helicopter crew, leaving local authorities baffled. Imposing black monoliths created by an unseen alien species appear in the movie "It is illegal to install structures or art without authorisation on federally managed public lands

An almost identical metal monolith was discovered in the Utah desert in the US last week, drawing huge attention to a structure of "unknown origin". Although it vanished shortly after, the monolith was quickly compared to Arthur C. Clarke' s famous alien structure that helped the evolution of the apes on

Within days, imitation monoliths had sprung up in a Romanian forest and a California mountaintop, but both disappeared as quickly as they arrived. News of these ephemeral works went viral, too, as they seemed to add to the enigma of the original structure, and teasingly suggested that aliens could have touched down in other places, too.

a field with a mountain in the background: A second sturcture appeared in northern Romania on November 27, but quickly disappeared. © Robert Iosub/AP A second sturcture appeared in northern Romania on November 27, but quickly disappeared.

The Utah monolith has all the elements required to become the year's biggest art story, at a time when the art world has been stifled by the pandemic. This tale is starkly different from last year's headliner, Maurizio Cattelan duct-taping a banana to a wall at Art Basel in Miami, or Banksy's $1.4 million self-destructing artwork the year before that. Both of these were outlandish acts meant to draw attention and poke fun at the art world. The monolith, however, is a quiet mystery that might never have drawn any attention at all.

a man standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Banksy's © Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Sotheby's Banksy's "Girl with Balloon" was renamed to "Love is in the Bin" after the anonymous artist intentionally had the work partially shred itself during a Sotheby's auction.

"It's an exciting thing to create something you've done and put it in a secret place where only you know about it," said art historian and chief curator of Artful, an art travel company, Matthew Israel, in a phone interview. "How interesting is that?"

Southwest Airlines jokes it's responsible for Utah monolith disappearance

  Southwest Airlines jokes it's responsible for Utah monolith disappearance Southwest Airlines took to social media on Sunday to joke that the mysterious metal monolith that recently disappeared from a remote area of Utah was one of their airport boarding signs. "Sorry y'all, we needed it back," the airline tweeted alongside an image of the three-sided monolith with boarding numbers edited onto the picture. Sorry y'all, we needed it back. https://t.co/tuOKj1igF7 pic.twitter.com/d3SOF4GeMS- Southwest Airlines (@ SouthwestAir) November 29, 2020The airline also joked that "it's all fun and games until we hear HAL 9000 on the intercom," referencing the 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey," which features a large black monolith.

Such an act is rare in the art world -- most artworks put out in the world have been intended for some type of audience, even if very small. In the late 1960s, land artist Holt undertook her "Buried Poem" series, concealing five poems for five different people in different landscapes around the United States. Only they received the map to each of the locations, making it a truly intimate deed.

An anonymous author

The identity of the unknown creator is a different sort of mystery than that of Banksy, the world's most famous anonymous artist. Banksy has kept his name and face hidden for years, dropping new works of street art, as if they were clues, on the London underground, a Venetian canal or a Tokyo pier.

"We live in a culture where we're so focused on individuals and identity," said Israel, whose new book, "A Year in the Art World," recounts his experiences in the contemporary art world. "When people decide to withhold their identities, it's particularly notable."

In Banksy's case, keeping his identity secret has bolstered his visibility, with the clandestine nature of his practice often drawing more attention than the works themselves. If the Utah monolith was the work of an artist, however, it does not appear to be an ongoing performance, but a solitary gesture.

And maybe the Utah monolith wasn't intended to be an artwork at all -- though that doesn't mean it's not, now, art.

"It's a blank slate. It's fascinating in that way," Israel said, pointing out that meaning has been ascribed to works throughout the history of art.

"It's doing the same things that art does," said Tassie. "(The fact) that it has inspired conversations about land management and land use is fantastic."

Unless the Utah monolith's creator comes forward, it may go down in modern art legend: the curious metallic object that stood in secret for years but then spread across the internet in mere hours.

"It's not just the anonymous artist, but the lack of detail around the piece makes it more mythical," said Tassie. "It's open ended, and it inspires creative thought, because everybody's theories are possible."

Another Mysterious Monolith Appears, This Time in The Netherlands .
The discovery comes after several metallic obelisks were discovered in remote locations in Utah, California and Romania.The structure was discovered in a nature reserve near Oudehorne, a village in the province of Friesland, on Sunday, according to the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper.

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