BY In the Name of Art in News | 23 MAY 18

Damien Hirst Designs Shark-Infested Bar in Vegas; Says ‘Art Can Survive Anywhere’

Mo Salah’s football boots enter the British Museum; Maggi Hambling’s whiffy advice for skipping gallery crowds: the latest in art world silliness

BY In the Name of Art in News | 23 MAY 18

Unknown Bar. Courtesy: Palms Casino Resort

To Las Vegas, where the Palms Casino Resort is unveiling a new Damien Hirst-themed bar. The star attraction is the artist’s 1999 piece The Unknown (Explored, Explained, Exploded) which slices a 13-foot-long tiger shark into three parts, suspends it in formaldehyde, and encases it in a steel and bullet-proof-glass tank. And it doesn’t stop there. The artist’s ‘spot’ paintings line the walls, while even the napkins, coasters and cocktail sticks have been designed by Hirst. ‘This just shows you: Art can survive anywhere,’ he optimistically told the LA Times’s Deborah Vankin. For a price of course – the hotel won’t say what they paid for Hirst’s shark, but they did direct the Times to another of Hirst’s shark artworks, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991), which collector Steven A. Cohen paid USD$8 million for in 2006. ‘We reference that piece when we talk about numbers. It’s about the same size,’ the hotel manager said.

The latest Egyptian treasure to enter the British Museum is causing a stir: a pair of boots belonging to Liverpool footballer Mohamed Salah, known as ‘the Egyptian King’. Going on show among ancient statues of pharoahs, ‘the boots tell a story of a modern Egyptian icon, performing in the UK, with a truly global impact,’ the museum’s ‘keeper of ancient Egypt’ Neal Spencer said. The critics have piled in already, with archaeologist and Egyptologist Zahi Hawass calling the decision to display the shoes alongside historic artefacts ‘completely inappropriate.’ Though less has been said about the public relations coup for a certain German sportswear manufacturer.

Watch out gallery-goers. Maggi Hambling had some unusual advice for the Times when asked about the best way to look at an artwork. She recalled fighting through crowds to see Titian’s Flaying of Marsyas at the Royal Academy. Her tips? ‘So I elbowed my way in with difficulty and when the people were only about three deep in front of me, inadvertently, I farted,’ the 72-year-old artist told the paper. ‘It was extremely effective; as with the parting of the Red Sea, my path and my view were clear.’

In the Name of Art is our semi-regular compendium of (almost) unbelievable art world stories. Send your worst to