The suite, which Hirst designed with architecture firm Bentel & Bentel, is completely over-the-top, very on-the-nose, and, to some, garish. One prominent art-world figure responded to my Instagram story—I had posted a picture of the jacuzzi’s dot-covered columns overlooking the Las Vegas night—with a number of emoji, including the face vomiting green bile, the monkey covering its face, and the purple eggplant. Another observed, “It looks ridiculous.” A third bemoaned, “Truly the end of civilization as we know it.”
But if you give into it, luxuriate in the Las Vegas–ness of it, there’s no more fear, there’s no more loathing, and the whole spectacle becomes kind of transcendent. The entire ethos of the artist—life and death, art and money, excess and restraint, luck and skill—is present in a way that was never before possible. Maybe Hirst has finally found a medium that measures up to his vision, and it’s a sky suite in the city that holds a dark funhouse mirror up to the American dream.