Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Jumping the shark

Since our last story on Damien Hirst’s shark there have been developments you should know about. ARTnews reports that a new shark has been purchased from Australia’s “Shark Man”, Vic Hislop, provisioner of shark one. Hislop, when told one of his small tiger sharks had been sold as part of a Hirst work The Wrath of God to the Samsung Museum in Korea, said, "It blows my mind. It's out of my league. I just catch sharks." The shark put aside to replace the rotting one in Hirst’s The physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living, has been subjected to a much more rigorous pickling process than the first. A couple of years ago we met one of the preparators of the first shark who was in New Zealand to install the Henry Moore show at Te Papa. He had riotous tales about how the shark originally floated belly up until they filled its stomach with lead weights. Pushing lead bars into a shark’s mouth, he recalled, was one of the most unusual art events of his life. ARTnews tells us that the replacement shark was placed in its refurbished tank in September 2006. Overseeing the operation was Oliver Crimmen, a scientist and Marine curator at London’s Natural History Museum. This is the same Dr Crimmen who helped the Aussie togs company Speedo develop its Fastskin FS II swimsuits that mimic sharkskin.
Image: Vic Hislop, the Shark Man