Damien Hirst’s dissected shark art set in Las Vegas bar

A new bar has opened at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas that features a giant tank containing a trisected shark designed by British artist Damien Hirst.

Courtesy: Palms Casino Resort

Called Unknown, the bar is part of a $620 million renovation at the Palms Casino Resort undertaken by owners and art collectors Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, as reported by Condé Nast

Hirst’s piece of shark art, called ‘The Unknown (Explored, Explained, Exploded),’ had been purchased by Frank and Lorenzo, who asked Hirst if he could complement its setting across the back bar with an additional eight artworks throughout the restaurant.

“Frank and Lorenzo have been huge supporters and collected my work for over 15 years,” Hirst told Conde Nast. “When they bought the Palms Casino they asked me if they could put ‘The Unknown (Explored, Explained, Exploded),’ a shark sculpture they had bought, in the bar. I looked at the plans and loved what they were doing with it, so I made the spots to go around the room as well.”

The installation is of a real segmented shark, preserved in glass and steel tanks of formaldehyde and mounted atop the white marble bar.

The installation is in keeping with several of Hirst’s former artworks, which have featured various animals dissected, pickled and presented in glass cases.

In 2008, the artist ran into trouble with staff at a museum in Tokyo, who were unable to import his latest artwork of a whole cow preserved in formaldehyde because of Japan’s strict import ban on British beef.

Another shark sculpture produced by Hirst, called “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living”, had to be replaced and re-pickled by Hirst in 2006 after if was found that the original had begun to rot.

This was the first project within the hospitality sector for Hirst since he opened Pharmacy 2, a reincarnation of his popular ‘90s Notting Hill restaurant Pharmacy, in 2016. The original Pharmacy restaurant opened in Notting Hill in 1998 at the height of the “Cool Britannia” days of Blur versus Oasis and the rise of the YBAs (young British artists) including Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas and Sam Taylor-Wood.

The restaurant is known for its bold design and menu, which is themed upon the world of pharmaceuticals.

Hirst’s Pharmacy 2 in Notting Hill

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