It must have been a bit of a shock – the helicopter pilot and his handful of passengers were out somewhere in the Utah desert counting sheep (yes, it sounds like a joke, but it’s science). Poking into a red rock canyon to look for more of the bighorns, they instead found an artifact seemingly straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The rectangle of sheer steel, between ten and twelve feet tall and two or three wide, looks eerily at home set in the mars-like red stone and sand around it. It’s surrounded by dense footprints in the dust, but no one knows who put it out there, who made it, or what technological leap they’re trying to inspire (Sorry, couldn’t resist). “I’m assuming it’s some new wave artist or something or, you know, somebody that was a big 2001 fan,” said Bret Hutchings, the helicopter pilot to local news.
But no artist has taken credit so far. There was some suspicion that it could be a newly-discovered or newly-relocated work of the late Minimalist John McCracken, as his signature works all included a very similar feature – a single, featureless plank of misplaced steel or bronze set against natural or urban or architectural backdrops. But it has been confirmed to have nothing to do with him, except potentially as an homage.
Exactly where this monolith stands, its discoverers and their sheep aren’t telling. They brought back a picture, but the work itself is still out there, mysterious and mute as the canyon walls around it. Perhaps discovering it and rediscovering it is a part of the art, a treasure hunt of the strange and question-provoking.
Hutchings and his passengers also aren’t telling if they landed to take a closer look, or maybe even touch it. But could you resist, if you were there?
Source: The Art Newspaper