In the Hive

Did Utah artist Adam Bateman make the (now vanished) ‘monolith?’


Today on “In the Hive,” the mysterious mystery that keeps on mystifying. The obelisk. The stela. The monolith. The object. Just who put it there, and why?

Missing Monolith | BLM Utah

Utah artist Adam Bateman is coy about whether he had a role in planting a three-paneled, shiny metal thing into a remote desert location in San Juan County that became an immediate worldwide phenomenon. But he has a lot to say about the interplay between art and nature, and what elevates an item like ‘the monolith’ to a level of cultural significance worthy of preservation. And he poses some interesting questions about it.

Is the object more important – more worthy even – if the artist was someone more famous than he is? Is it simply the passage of time that distinguishes something like ancient rock art from an installation like this? Who gets to decide? Bateman also gives us the blueprints for how the monolith might have been installed.

Plus, Felicia Baca with the Salt Lake City Arts Council says a likelier suspect than Bateman would be pranksters or students, and she weighs in on why this object took on such significance this year.

And we’ll hear about the Reddit user who did the digital forensic legwork to figure out exactly where the object was – and why he hesitated before sharing that information publicly.

Adam Bateman, artist and sculptor
Tim Slane, Reddit user who publicly uncovered the monolith’s location
Amber Denton Johnson, Monticello Field Manager with the Bureau of Land Management
Felicia Baca, Director of the Salt Lake City Arts Council

In the Hive
From local politics, to arts and culture, to history, the environment and beyond, “In the Hive” explores the issues and ideas that tie Utah together. Produced by KCPW Studios
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