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Vic Hislop

Vic Hislop

VIC HISLOP’S SHARKS HAVE BEEN SLAUGHTERED ON THE BEACH FOR CAT FOOD AND SHOWN IN THE TATE MODERN

 Vic Hislop doesn’t kill sharks just for the money. He kills sharks because he really doesn’t like them. But of the 1,100 “senseless eating machines” that he has personally slaughtered, a few are now worth millions.

In 1991, Hislop caught and shipped a four-meter-long tiger shark to London, UK, answering an ad posted on a wharf in his native Queensland, Australia. The shark’s buyer was a young artist named Damien Hirst, who dropped the two-tonne carcass into a formaldehyde bath, titled it The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, and sold it to art collector Charles Saatchi for £50,000 (US$75,000). British newspapers mocked the “Fish Without Chips” sale, but after Saatchi’s gallery put his shark on show, Hirst was nominated for the prestigious Turner Prize.

Then Impossibility started to rot. Putrefaction is common to Hirst sculptures (another, called A Thousand Years, consists of a cow’s head being devoured by maggots), but the drooping, greenish shark looked poorly, rather than provocative. So Hirst flayed it and stretched the skin over a fiberglass mold. Ten years later, when billionaire US banker Steven Cohen offered $8 million for the work, Hirst decided to renovate everything but the title, calling on Hislop to deliver a new shark, hiring a “fish curator” from the London Natural History Museum to pickle it professionally, and earning an extra $100,000 for his trouble.

At last alert to his enemy’s worth, Vic Hislop launched his own exhibition. But at the time of writing, the Vic Hislop Shark Show has not become profitable enough for the fisherman to quit his day job.

http://www.colorsmagazine.com/stories/magazine/87/story/some-of-the-sharks-vic-hislop-has-caught-were-slaughtered-on-the-beach-for


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