Hirst remakes the Pharmacy as a desert juice bar

The Prada Oasis and Damien Hirst's Pharmacy Juice Bar pitched up north of Doha as part of his Qatar show
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Damien Hirst’s Pharmacy Juice Bar
Damien Hirst’s Pharmacy Juice Bar

London's art-scene veterans, out in Qatar for the opening Damien Hirst retrospective last week, might have thought their eyes were deceiving them.

Yet this desert vision is not a mirage, but in fact a Bedouin-style recreation of Hirst's London restaurant, Pharmacy, which closed its doors in 2003. The Prada Oasis and Damien Hirst's Pharmacy Juice Bar opened for two days last week in the desert north of Doha, as a 'bar installation', created in collaboration with Miuccia Prada and Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani, chairperson of Qatar Museums Authority.

 

Prada Oasis, Qatar
Prada Oasis, Qatar

The project is similar in spirit to Prada Marfa, a false storefront set beside a Texas highway by the artists Elmgreen and Dragset. Yet, while this pharmacy won't be taking any repeat prescriptions, the neighbouring tent, Prada Oasis, has drawn commercial interest, since it displayed 20 Hirst-accessorised Entomology Prada bags, decorated with jewel-encrusted beetles, which were auctioned to benefit an educational charity.

 

One of Hirst's Entomology bags
One of Hirst's Entomology bags

The QMA's director of public art, Jean Paul Engelen, said that they pitched the tents "to create an out-of-the-ordinary place which, for just two days, provided a totally unique experience in the Arab landscape." Mission accomplished, we think.

Find out more about Hirst's huge Qatar retrospective here. To learn more about where Hirst fits into today's art world, consider our book Defining Contemporary Art.


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