Out with the old, in with the new! The result of the Palms Casino Resort renovation, is no longer a secret. Under layers of curtains, lies a hidden bar guarded by security guards. Over the sleek looking bar, displays a thirteen-foot severed shark, floating in three tanks of formaldehyde. Despite the shark being considered art that “evokes different emotions” or “generalizes art”, others aren’t fully supportive of the idea of using animals in art.
David Hickey, an art writer, states that “The shark is so outrageous — it’s vulgar in either situation, a museum or a casino”. Others feel that the shark is a symbol for reinventing and revitalizing art. Damien Hirst states
<blockquote>“A lot of museums can feel like they’re made for dead artists — not a very exciting place to hang art” and “What we’ve done here, with the Unknown Bar, the art really stands up and feels so alive.</blockquote>
Many artists, including British artist Polly Morgan, who works in taxidermy to make sculptures out of donated and found animal carcasses, feels that art that involves animals can be presented, as long as it’s presented in a good light. Morgan even states
<blockquote>“It sounds like the Palms has invested in some good artists and are keen to show it not as a gimmick but in the context of other contemporary art”.</blockquote>
With a 620-million-dollar budget for renovations, there’s more to the unknown bar, than just a shark being displayed. What makes the Unknown unique, is not only the art that is displayed in the bar, but how the art is integrated into the bar. Instead of displaying the art like a museum would do, their art is integrated into their décor and often in places where art is unexpectedly placed in.
The Palms stage two of renovation will likely consider adding additional art to their day club, restaurants as well as their pool area.