Damien Hirst rocked the boat with this controversial piece.
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Damien Hirst, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, 1991 (Sideview). Glass, painted steel, silicone, monofilament, shark and formaldehyde solution. 2,170 x 5,420 x 1,800 mm. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/ARS 2014.
Preserved Predator
Is this real shark groundbreaking art?

How would you feel coming face-to-face with a 13-foot tiger shark in an art gallery? For his work titled The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, contemporary British artist Damien Hirst wanted to present a shark that was “real enough to frighten you.” So instead of making a sculpture of a shark, he hired a fisherman in Australia to catch a real one. Experts then installed the shark in a glass-and-steel case filled with a chemical solution to preserve it. Created in 1991, this is still one of contemporary art’s most celebrated and controversial works.

The sculpture sparked a storm of media attention. Critics say it has plenty of shock value but little artistic value. Supporters counter that the work is thought-provoking and forces viewers to grapple with the boundary between life and death.

Others take issue with the methods used to create the artwork. Some feel that since Hirst didn’t make the work with his own hands, it isn’t art. But advocates believe that the idea is more important than the process. They compare Hirst’s work to that of modern artist Marcel Duchamp. Early in the 20th century, Duchamp collected commonplace objects, such as a urinal, and proclaimed them “art,” calling them “readymades.” Adding only a signature, Duchamp transformed the urinal into art. Like Duchamp, Hirst tried to redefine something from the real world as art.

This work launched Hirst’s career and sold for millions of dollars. With this now- famous fish, Hirst pushed the boundaries of art, and more than 20 years later, people are still talking about it.

What do you think? Is this art?


This is art. Art does not always have to be created by hand using pencil or paint. Art does not have to be constructed from marble or bronze. This is an object that took much thought and preparation in regard to its "presentation".It was created to be seen by others; to spark a thought and possibly a conversation about life, death, fear, juxtaposition, being free or confined, and much more.
Posted by: Kimberley K. | August 13, 2014 at 3:37 PM
This is art. The artist wants the viewer to see a particular object, in this case, a natural one, from his perspective. In this way, the artfulness of it is how this idea or perspective is presented. The artist has communicated a statement or an emotion through visual means.
Posted by: Karen G. | August 19, 2014 at 5:03 PM
i think that he should not get any credit because, he did not put any artistic effort into this project.
Posted by: Brandon W. | August 19, 2014 at 5:03 PM
I think Mr. Damien Hirst shall get no credentials for this project because it lacks uniqueness and its not original.
Posted by: Brandon W. | August 19, 2014 at 5:04 PM
This is not art, rather is it a representation of humans' disregard and disconnect from the natural world. It exemplifies that for some, nature and wildlife exists for the pleasure of human consumption. I understand utilizing "readymades", however, the process to produce this piece of "art" entailed commissioning the death of a shark.
Posted by: Ryan H. | August 20, 2014 at 7:15 PM
All the art work is focused on the shark not the background if there's not a background the picture doesn't seem complete!??
Posted by: Elizabeth r. | September 16, 2014 at 1:56 PM
No, the fisherman should get the credit because he got the main part of the picure
Posted by: Emma A. | September 16, 2014 at 1:56 PM
the shark looks so cool my friend Tiffani D showed me on the computer and i think the fisherman who caught this shark should get a little credit but it's not nice to kill animals like the shark but the shark could have more sharks witch means there would be more shark but eventually the older sharks would die
Posted by: Emily M. | September 19, 2014 at 1:58 PM
This preserved preditor is so cool and should not be on display. It is a crule thing to do. But yes it is very very very cool!!!!!!!
Posted by: Tiffani D. | September 19, 2014 at 2:00 PM
I think it's a painting because in the painting you can see the closed off walls from the body parts and if you look close enough you can see the cartoon like of the shark and the bolts. Therefore I think it is a painting.
Posted by: Shannon B. | September 23, 2014 at 2:33 PM
I can't believe that
Posted by: Kiki j. | October 3, 2014 at 2:20 PM
i think this is cool, but scary I would not want to be anywhere near a shark. but yeah it is art you don't always need to use a pencil, pen, or paint. I think its pretty awesome that he had this idea
Posted by: chloe h. | October 3, 2014 at 2:20 PM
To me, it just seems like a photograph. You don't want that. You "paint" so well that it looks like one.. I don't think it is really art, sorry. But, YES it is pretty cool
Posted by: Keagan .. | October 3, 2014 at 2:20 PM
I don't think it is art, because he didn't make it with his hands.
Posted by: Kira R. | October 3, 2014 at 2:20 PM
I find it really cool that he put a shark in a tank! I wonder where he got this amazing idea. I don't think its art though, because he didn't really do anything with it, but put it in a tank. For it to be art he should have made it a little more creative, but other wise it is amazing. I don't think it should be included as art due to that. It is really neat though.
Posted by: Kayleigh .. | October 3, 2014 at 2:21 PM
It is real art because you just see something really interesting that was put in the glass. It shows people what the real animal looks like.
Posted by: Beau B. | October 3, 2014 at 2:21 PM
I think duchamp's fountain was not art by just saying that anything is art, but Hirst he didn't just want a sculpture of a tiger shark he wanted a real one real enough to frighten you, and he even had a fisherman that caught the tiger shark.
Posted by: J.T. S. | October 3, 2014 at 2:21 PM
No because he used a real shark and he didn't draw it or anything. So I don't think it is real art because he didn't use any art materials, or anything. He only used a chemical.
Posted by: Cedrick D. | October 3, 2014 at 2:21 PM
I don't think its real art because he used a real shark instead of using actual art materials to make it art. He only used a chemical to make it so it looked like art. The real shark made it look like art but technically it wasn't.
Posted by: Kaleb T. | October 3, 2014 at 2:22 PM
I am not really sure. In my opinion art is something you make because A. you enjoy what you're drawing or B. you want to get a point across. On this matter I don't know where it falls. How he added the frame and how he arranged it makes it in a way art. It is kind of like using buttons or something to make art, so I am undecided, I say in a way it is art, and in a way it's not. I understand both.
Posted by: Eli J. | October 3, 2014 at 2:22 PM
I think that his fish isn't art, because, although I've seen animals like dogs and cats that have been painted to make art, this shows none of the art's expression about what the so called piece means. Painted, the art shows what the artist has done, what he wanted to express in the piece, and what makes it show the artist's creativity. Not affected at all, it's just a shark that's been preserved in a tank. Most would say that a dead animal sitting in a tank isn't considered "Art."
Posted by: Max K. | October 3, 2014 at 2:22 PM
I don't t think his shark is art. He didn't create the shark, he just hired someone to catch him a real one and then sealed it in a tank. I wouldn't call it art, but if he would have made the shark then I would say it was art. He didn't do anything to the shark to make it his own.
Posted by: Taylor B. | October 3, 2014 at 2:23 PM
I don't think his shark is real art. I don't think this because it wasn't hand made and there is no real creativity to it. There's no creativity it is a shark in a glass box. Also think about it not everyone wants to look at a shark for art. He should've just made a realistic sculptor of the shark and put in the same box. But no a dead shark in a glass box is not real art to me.
Posted by: Kaycee D. | October 3, 2014 at 2:23 PM
you should never do that because it could hurt it and it bad because you keep it in there and you don't put it by it friends where it is supposed to be in the wild life i hope there will put back where it live not let live in there anymore.
Posted by: Marissa .. | October 3, 2014 at 2:23 PM
well I think it is not real art because he didn't really make it. he killed this name to just make people look at it . what harmful thing to do. I get why he wanted it to make it look real. but really it is kind of taking it to the extreme. Just paint a picture or something.
Posted by: Spencer.L . | October 3, 2014 at 2:24 PM
I think that this shark could and could not be art. I think that this mans fish art is art because it is displayed in an art gallery. I think that this shark is cool, because no one else ever done it before. The shark was made to frighten people.
Posted by: Keri .. | October 3, 2014 at 2:24 PM
I think this a really cool piece. The artist really knew how to make it as realistic as possible by using a real shark. The fisherman deserves some credit but it wasn't the fisherman's idea so the artist deserves the credit. Why should someone get all the credit if they didn't even come up with the idea?
Posted by: Abby Z. | October 3, 2014 at 2:24 PM
Since, Damien Hirst wanted to make it as realistic as possible, he decided to hire a fisherman to catch a tiger fish, so that Hirst could use it in his art. I think yes and no, whether his ''Fish art work'' is really art. I think it is, because it was his idea, he decided it, and he made it happen. Although I'd have to disgree a little because he didn't write, sculpturize, or create with his own hands to physically make it art. But, thats just my opinion. I also think it's pretty extrordinary to have a shark in a tank and say, " This is my art!"
Posted by: Lauren G. | October 3, 2014 at 2:25 PM
No, I do not think it is art, more of a preservative. Like science.
Posted by: Amber H. | October 3, 2014 at 2:25 PM
I think that the Preserved Predator is more an attraction than it really is art. His idea behind it was a good idea, but it wasn't very artistic. It was more finding an animal and claiming it as your creation of art.
Posted by: Kyleigh P. | October 3, 2014 at 2:25 PM
I think this a really cool piece. The artist really knew how to make it as realistic as possible by using a real shark. The fisherman deserves some credit but it wasn't the fisherman's idea so the artist deserves the credit. Why should someone get all the credit if they didn't even come up with the idea?
Posted by: Abby Z. | October 3, 2014 at 2:25 PM
He wanted it to look real enough to frighten people. Instead of making a sculpture of a shark he used a real one.
Posted by: Katelyn L. | October 3, 2014 at 2:25 PM
I think that it is awesome that they did this. It is also very nasty in a sick way. I would love to see this in real life but i probaly never will. I hope that they do this with a squirrel some day.
Posted by: Ike H. | October 3, 2014 at 2:25 PM
If you google the definition of art on google, you get "the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power." (Meaning that art isn't just paintings or sculptures. Its also using creative skill of imagination to create something that catches the human eye!)
Posted by: Alexis R. | October 3, 2014 at 2:26 PM
Yes I think this is art. I think this is a wonderful peace of art too. This will capture peoples attention and they will think it is really cool.
Posted by: Riley W. | October 3, 2014 at 2:26 PM
It is not real art, the tiger shark is it's own art. He did not make it art, it is it's own art. Hiring someone to find it was not actually "MAKING it art that he made".
Posted by: Tyler U. | October 3, 2014 at 2:26 PM
Yes it is art. It took work to get it. It looks cool, and it is just something unique!
Posted by: Samson E. | October 3, 2014 at 2:26 PM
I think this is art ,because art is a way of expressing creativity or emotions in some way, shape, or form.
Posted by: Joe D. | October 3, 2014 at 2:26 PM
I don't think it is art because for one all he did was take a shark and make it scary. The fisherman should get more credit for getting the shark. One more thing it is not nice to kill animals. I think it is ok if the shark is old or sick. But no I don't think that is art.
Posted by: Skylar M. | October 3, 2014 at 2:26 PM
I don't think its art because its not something you drew or made its something you killed and put in a giant box. I mean you don't you just draw a huge picture of a shark.
Posted by: Hannah S. | October 3, 2014 at 2:27 PM
It is scary but its not art. Its more like cruel! Why would you do that? I get it that there just preserving and that he has good intentions, but just putting a shark in chemical solution isn't not art.
Posted by: Brenna B. | October 3, 2014 at 2:27 PM
I thought that they were both good pieces of art. But they could involve more thing.
Posted by: Macie W. | October 3, 2014 at 2:27 PM
I feel bad for the shark in the tank
Posted by: Conner A. | October 3, 2014 at 2:27 PM
I think that the shark preservation society would be anger by this blatant message to the community to kill sharks. I made friends with a shark one time. Once, he tried to bite my head off, but I know it was because my pet shark liked me.
Posted by: Daquan R. | October 6, 2014 at 2:09 PM
This should have given credit to the fisherman and should get all the money that has come from the piece.
Posted by: Kolin H. | October 7, 2014 at 5:31 PM
I think this is art,and i think there should be more art like this. Maybe one day there could be a whole museum/gallery of more animals like this.
Posted by: Bryce m. | October 8, 2014 at 1:46 PM
it is not a sculpture, it's just a mummified shark. dead animals are not art.
Posted by: turtleman . | November 12, 2014 at 2:54 PM
Yes it is art. The artist expressed himself in his own way so yes it is artwork. Just because it's not clay,pencil,paint,or digital doesnt mean it's not art. People have different opinions if it's art or not but to him it's art and that's all that matters.
Posted by: Skyler M. | December 15, 2014 at 2:23 PM
This "creation" is not art. Hirt's shark is a dead animal preserved in chemicals. Hirst didn't even catch the shark or put it in chemicals; he hired someone else to do it. This "conceptual art" isn't art at all. In a recent article concerning the issue that I read, the author called conceptual art "con art" for short, because it cons people into thinking its real art. This monstrosity Hirst has created isn't art in the slightest.
Posted by: Cassie C. | March 5, 2015 at 4:21 PM

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