|Manu||Date: Tuesday, 01-December-2020, 5:34 AM | Message # 1|
|Metal structure that prompted multiple theories about how it came to be was removed by ‘an unknown party’, officials say|
US officials said that the metal monolith, that was first spotted in the Utah desert on 18 November, has been removed. Photograph: Utah Department of Public Safety/EPA
The tall, shiny, metal structure, now famously known as a “monolith” was discovered in Utah last week, and had prompted multiple theories about how it had come to be there ranging from TV show set leftover, to artwork, to aliens.
Theories abound over mystery metal monolith found in Utah
But now, almost as mysteriously as it appeared, it has been removed by what local officials called “an unknown party”.
“[We] did not remove the structure which is considered private property,” a Bureau of Land Management spokesperson said in a statement. “The structure has received international and national attention and we received reports that a person or group removed it on the evening of 27 Nov”.
The bureau added it would “not investigate crimes involving private property” as they are “handled by the local sheriff’s office”.
The Utah department of public safety, whose helicopter crew first discovered the installation on 18 November during a count of bighorn sheep, initially declined to reveal the structure’s location.
A number of thrill-seeking visitors, however, had since found it located just east off Canyonlands national park. By the time adventurers Riccardo Marino and Sierra Van Meter went to the spot late Friday night to get some photos, it was no longer there.
“All that was left in its place was a message written in the dirt that said ‘bye bitch’ with a fresh pee stain right next to it,” Marino posted to instagram. “Someone had just stolen the statue, and we were the first to arrive at the scene”.
Marino said they saw a pickup truck with a large object in its bed driving in the opposite direction shortly before they got there. A Reddit user also found the structure, which many believed to be abstract art, had been removed.
The object’s origins remain unknown but Bret Hutchings, the helicopter pilot who discovered it, estimated it to be between 10ft and 12ft high (about three metres).
“One of the biologists spotted it, and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it,” Hutchings told local KSL. “He was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!’ And I was like, ‘What.’ And he’s like, ‘There’s this thing back there – we’ve got to go look at it!’”
Some have compared the art to minimalist sculptors, including the late John McCracken. A spokesperson for his gallerist, David Zwirner, told the Guardian earlier this week it was not one of McCracken’s works.
He later told the New York Times, however, it could in fact be by the artist.
Since its disappearance, visitors have begun stacking rocks around the site, along with the top piece that was left behind.
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