Utah Monolith Removed by Four Men, Photographer Says

Utah Monolith Removed by Four Men, Photographer Says

Utah Monolith Removed by Four Men, Photographer Says

Utah Monolith Removed by Four Men, Photographer Says

But a friend who accompanied him on the trip, Michael James Newlands, 38, of Denver, took a few quick photographs with his cellphone.

“It must have been 10 or 15 minutes at most for them to knock over the monolith and pull it out,” he told The New York Times. “We didn’t know who they were, and we were not going to do anything to stop them.” He added, “They just came in there to execute and they were like, ‘This is our mission.’”

The photos are blurry, but they fascinate, nonetheless. Here are images of several men working beneath the cover of darkness, wearing gloves but not face masks, standing above the fallen monolith. We can see its exposed insides. It turns out to be a hollow structure with an armature made from plywood.

The photographs are the only known images of the culprits who removed the sculpture; they may not have been the same people who installed it in the first place. On Tuesday, a professional sportsman, Andy L. Lewis, took credit for the sculpture’s disappearance, posting a video on his Facebook page. Mr. Lewis, from nearby Moab, is a 34-year-old slackline performer who specializes in high-altitude stunts and brought his sport to Madonna’s 2012 Super Bowl halftime show. Asked why he chose to remove the sculpture, he said, in a text to a Times reporter, a bit cagily, “This is probably a question better answered in person – maybe live with an audience that is ready to listen to something they may not want to actually hear.”

The video that he posted consists of a short shadowy clip with jumpy footage in which the monolith, lying in a wheelbarrow, is hastily ferried away from its site. “The safe word is run,” one man says, as his headlamp illuminates the fallen sculpture.

Accounts of Mr. Lewis’s past stunts suggest that he seeks the spotlight. In 2013, the Mirror, the British tabloid, ran a photograph of him balanced precariously on a high rope without any clothes. Mr. Lewis pleaded guilty in 2014 to interfering in a BASE jumping investigation at Arches National Park. He received a fine and 18-months probation, during which time he was prohibited from entering a national forest.


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