Damien Hirst’s 60-Foot-Tall Sea Monster Washes Up in Las Vegas as Part of the Most Expensive Hotel Renovation in the City’s History

A perfect storm of hideously excessive wealth is touching down in Las Vegas this week as Damien Hirst is set to unveil a monumental demonic sculpture at the Palms Casino Resort to christen the opening of its new club KAOS on Thursday.

Featuring an absurd number of pools—the most of any venue in North America, according to the official announcement—KAOS is both a 73,000-square-foot dayclub and a 29,000-square-foot nightclub. At its center, surrounded by turquoise blue water and a ring of palm trees, rises Demon With Bowl (2014), a 60-foot bronze sculpture by Hirst that’s rumored to have cost upwards of $14 million. A second work by the artist, the comparatively diminutive 23-foot-tall Warrior and Bear (2015), will also be on permanent view at the property.

Both sculptures are relics from “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable,” Hirst’s 2017 show at the François Pinault Foundation’s private Venice museums Palazzo Grassi and Punta Della Dogana, which was billed as the imaginary art collection of a first-century freed slave, newly raised from the ocean depths. Due to its enormous size and weight, Demon With Bowl was shown in a temporary resin copy as the centerpiece of the exhibition.

The blockbuster Venice show, which inspired a Netflix mockumentary and reportedly cost $65 million to produce, was a hit with the public but was roundly ridiculed by critics as a soulless exercise in excess. So perhaps a luxury Las Vegas hotel is the appropriate final resting place for this work.

Damien Hirst, <em>Warrior and the Bear</em> (2015) at KAOS, the club at Palms Casino Resort. Photo courtesy of the Palms Casino Resort.

Damien Hirst, Warrior and the Bear (2015) at KAOS, the club at Palms Casino Resort. Photo courtesy of the Palms Casino Resort.

The artist has also designed a special hotel room for the property, called the “Empathy Suite,” which features numerous works by Hirst as well as not one but two massage rooms. The suite costs $200,000 for a minimum two-night stay, or guests can opt for the full Hirst experience with the $1 million “KAOS THEORY” package, which buys three nights in the suite.

That deal includes enough wine to throw a bacchanal worthy of the last days of Rome: a 30-liter bottle of Ace of Spades rosé, a 30-liter bottle of Ace of Spades brut, 100 bottles of Dom Pérignon Rose Luminous, 100 Dom Perignon Brut Luminous, and five bottles of Clase Azul Ultra Magnum.

Damien Hirst, Winner/Loser, 2018, inside his newly designed suite at the Palms Casino Resort. Image courtesy of the Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas.

Damien Hirst’s Winner/Loser (2018) inside his newly designed suite at the Palms Casino Resort. Image courtesy of the Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas.

It’s all part of the Palms Casino Resort’s $690 million renovation—the most expensive in Vegas hotel history—which includes additional works of art by contemporary street artists and blue-chip names such as Jean-Michel BasquiatAndy WarholTakashi Murakami, and Richard Prince.

Hirst also designed the resort’s Unknown bar, which opened last year and features one of his infamous formaldehyde shark sculptures swimming over the top-shelf liquor, as well as 16 of the artist’s spot paintings.

The hotel will also unveil the largest LED wall in Vegas, with a 270-foot-tall screen facing the strip, as well as what the press release touts as “50 million pixels of LED video mapping” inside KAOS, “created to give guests an immersive, 360-degree experience.” Plus, a Tesla coil will hang from the ceiling of the dance floor to can create fog and other weather conditions indoors, while water cannons standby with a shooting range of more than 100 feet. Because why not?

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