Billionaire art collectors deceived by Damien Hirst shark sculpture misdated by 18 years

Scandal in the art world! An investigation by The Guardian has revealed that a colossal tiger shark sculpture, a centerpiece at the opulent Palms casino resort in Las Vegas, was not created in 1999 as previously claimed, but rather in 2017 – nearly two decades later.

The sculpture, titled The Unknown (Explored, Explained, Exploded), 1999 was acquired by the billionaire Fertitta brothers, Lorenzo and Frank III, for a rumored $8 million. The 13-foot formaldehyde-preserved shark, dissected into three parts, has been wowing casino patrons since its unveiling in 2018. The Guardian reports that "Sources familiar with the creation of the sculpture said it was made in 2017 in preparation for its installation in the hotel."

This is not the first instance of Hirst's formaldehyde works being misleadingly dated. Three other sculptures featuring a dove, a small shark, and two calves were also given 1990s dates despite being made in 2017. Hirst's company, Science Ltd, claims that the dates assigned to his formaldehyde works represent the conception of the idea rather than the physical creation. However, this approach goes against the widely accepted norms in the art world, where a single date typically signifies the year of completion.

The Fertitta brothers, who have amassed a substantial collection of Hirst's works, have not commented on the matter, leaving observers to wonder if they've been caught in the jaws of an artistic deception or if they're simply playing along with Hirst's conceptual shell game.

See also: Steven Spielberg feels guilty about how Jaws made sharks look bad and led to their senseless deaths