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A screenshot of the location of the mysterious monolith that was discovered in the red canyons of Utah (Via Google Earth)

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While the origin of the steel monolith that was discovered last week in the deep deserts of Utah remains a mystery, its location isn’t anymore. Internet sleuths have deciphered the coordinates of the canyon in which the slab is installed and some have already visited the site.

The Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) has intentionally kept the location of the monolith undisclosed for fear that it would draw visitors who could possibly be stranded and require rescue.

But it’s too late for that.

Dave Sparks, a former football player and an internet personality, posted a video online of his visit to the monolith by helicopter. When he arrived at the site, he found that others have already found the mystery object.

“My gut tells me that some artist came down here and put it in,” Sparks says in the video. “It’s definitely human,” he later describes the monolith. Sparks also posted a picture of himself on Instagram standing on top of the installation. Others sat on it, just for fun.

Furthermore, satellite imagery of Red Rock Country over the years dispels theories that minimalist sculptor John McCracken is responsible for the monolith, contrary to what many, including gallerist David Zwirner, believe. Contradicting a previous statement from his eponymous gallery, which represents the late artist, Zwirner told the New York Times that he believes the monolith was “definitely by John.”

The gallery even posted an image of a similar monolith by McCracken that was installed in its Chelsea location, saying, “The portal to Utah is at David Zwirner 20th Street.”

However, satellite imagery from Google Earth shows that monolith was installed years after McCracken’s death in 2011.

“The object seems relatively new,” a Verge article says. “Google Earth photos from 2013 and mid-2015 show no trace of it, but it’s clearly visible by October of 2016, when the surrounding ground has also been apparently cleared of scrub.” 

Hakim Bishara

Hakim Bishara is a staff writer for Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital...