The subject of artist Damien Hirst's famous 1991 work "The physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living" needs to be replaced. Apparently, the shark suspended in formaldehyde isn't aging well. Hirst has said that he will happily refurbish the piece, purchased in 2004 from the Saatchi Gallery by US hedge fund manager Steve Cohen for a reported £6.5m. From The Art Newspaper:
Oliver Crimmen, curator of fish at the Natural History Museum who advised Hirst on the necessary measures to be taken for the conservation of the shark in 1991, said the long-term preservation of large specimens for scientific purposes requires an alcohol-based solution rather than formaldehyde...Link (via Fortean Times)
Mr Crimmen said that Hirst “did not inject the deep tissues of the shark with formaldehyde and this has caused it to undergo some changes in shape.” He believes the tissue of the shark could be shrinking and put the cloudiness of the formaldehyde down to the chemical composition of the solution used by the artist.
Speaking to critic Stuart Morgan in 1996, Hirst said: “I did an interview about conservation and they told me formaldehyde is not a perfect form of preservation... They actually thought I was using formaldehyde to preserve an artwork for posterity, when in reality I use it to communicate an idea.”
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.