Imagine you’re a beachcomber browsing for colorful shells or sweeping the sands with a metal detector in search of lost treasure when, suddenly, looming before you is the giant half-submerged, bulbous head of Damien Hirst—in snorkeling goggles, no less. Freaky!
But, no, it isn’t an acid flashback or a huge prop for Season Two of The White Lotus, a pagan idol for the idle rich. Created by the artist team of Danger Dave and Christian Rager (pretty cool names, guys!), this huge, ominously kitschy inflatable sculpture, Damien Hirst Looking for Sharks, is a jokey homage to the genesis of Hirst’s bravura 1991 installation, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, which suspended a dead tiger shark preserved in formaldehyde. It was the artwork that made Hirst’s fame and fortune, and Looking for Sharks portrays Hirst in avid pursuit of his future payoff.
It is also one of the many large-scale sculptures populating the beach for the Swell Sculpture Festival, in Currumbin, Australia. At the affiliated northerly Swell exhibition is another cartoon sculpture courtesy of Danger Dave: Homer Homer, a split-level noggin whose bottom half represents the bearded bard of Greek epic and whose top half is none other than America’s most beloved doofus dad, Homer Simpson, whose Ping-Pong-ball eyes beckon to all denizens of sand and sea. —James Wolcott