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Damien Hirst’s new masterpiece is an $88 million archaeological exhibition based on a fake shipwreck

Damien Hirst is known for being a bit out there when it comes to his art – he’s the guy responsible for that actual-real-diamond encrusted human skull, and the actual-real-shark that’s suspended in formaldehyde, which is now eating away at the shark corpse.


Photo: Nicolo Guasti / Getty
Hirst hasn’t done a major art show in 13 years, but he’s come back onto the scene with a big, controversial bang. His new show, titled Treasures From The Wreck Of The Unbelievable, has just opened in Venice – and it’s definitely getting interesting feedback. Because, friends, it contains barnacle and coral-laden relics… from a completely made up, fake as all hell shipwreck.

Photo: Awakening / Getty.
The whole thing reportedly cost Hirst $88 million bucks, with over a thousand suppliers from across Europe and Africa for 189 displayed works. Yikes. The convoluted story is this – Cif Amotan II was a Turkish slave whose vessel, The Unbelievable, was lost off the coast of East Africa in the first or second century.
It contained a very extensive art collection, which was miraculously discovered in 2008, and voila – is now on show in all it’s glory. Hirst’s wild show even features footage of divers discovering “artefacts” from the wreck, that’s how committed he is to this whole story.
Some of the pieces look seriously legit. And bloody huge – check out this massive, multiple-level-spanning statue:

Photo: Awakening / Getty.
And this creepy demon head:

Photo: Awakening / Getty.
Others are a bit more… well… in true Hirst style, he’s incorporated pop culture references into some of his pieces. Think faces that look eerily similar to Kate Moss and Kanye West, and even some Mickey Mouse refs.

Photo: Awakening / Getty.
Wanna check it out for yourself? It’s showing in Venice rn – if you wish you had the spare cash to buy a spontaneous plane ticket, why not try entering our lil’ comp right here? You could end up pocketing $20k in cash: