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
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.
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.
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.