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The stainless steel monolith that was discovered in the red canyons of Utah's desert Credit: Image via Wikimedia Commons

The monolith-mania continues across the globe, with more shiny stainless steel pillars popping up in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Colombia, California, Las Vegas, New Mexico, and the Isle Of Wight off the coast of England. Many disappeared as quickly as they emerged.

In California, a group of four artists and fabricators have come forward as the makers of a monolith that first appeared atop Pine Mountain in Atascadero on December 2. The artists shared a YouTube video showing them hoisting a second monolith after the first one was toppled and replaced with a crucifix.

Wade McKenzie, one of the members of the group, told the New York Times: “We intended for it to be a piece of guerrilla art. But when it was taken down in such a malicious manner, we decided we needed to replace it.” 

The group did not claim responsibility for another monolith that appeared in California’s Los Padres National Forest last week.

In a separate development, “the Most Famous Artist,” a New Mexico-based artist collective founded by Matty Mo, is selling monolith replicas for a whopping $45,000, suggesting that they were responsible for the original Utah monolith which set off this global, increasingly commercialized phenomenon.

A map of all “monolith” locations worldwide

What started as a mysterious phenomenon that stirred our collective imagination and helped distract us from the woes of 2020, has quickly become an advertising tool for major corporations. Just look at how companies like Jeep, McDonalds, Southwest Airlines, and Moon Pie, have used the “alien structure” to sell us their goods.

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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...