In Salt Lake city, A monolith discovered deep in the Utah desert was beautiful, a mysterious beacon that quickly captured the attention of a world grappling with a pandemic.
Unveiled to the public shortly before Thanksgiving, it drew hundreds of people to the remote, red-rock country to see and touch the otherworldly structure that excited both science-fiction movies and the state’s leading land-art works.
But the newcomers also flattened plants with their cars and left behind human waste in the bathroom-free backcountry. Now, two men known for sports in Utah’s extensive outdoor sceneries say it was that kind of loss that made them step in late at night and tear it down.
Sylvan Christensen and Andy Lewis have huge online followings for their posts about skydiving-like BASE jumping and all sort of stuff, which is like walking an outdoor tightrope. In videos that were released on Instagram and YouTube, they said they were part of a group that pushed down the hollow stainless-steel structure and took it away in a wheelbarrow.
Christensen said in a statement provided to media outlets late Tuesday that the land wasn’t prepared for the influx and its federal managers couldn’t hope to keep up.
“The mystery was the infatuation and we want to use this time to unite people behind the real issues here— we are losing our public lands— things like this don’t help,” he wrote.
He said the group supports art and artists but said it was an “ethical failure” to cut into the rock to erect the monolith, and the damage caused by the “internet sensationalism” was worse.