Thursday, 12 December 2013


During the crit it was suggested to look at Damien Hurst's scientific, pharmaceutical theme restaurant, featuring his art works, and being inspired by the installation. Weird and wonderful, and very conceptual inside and outside. I am unable to find information on a menu however, as nothing is shown online.

Pharmacy was a restaurant in Notting HillLondon, which opened in 1998. The venture was backed, in the early days, by Damien Hirst and the public relations guru,Matthew Freud. It gained further publicity thanks to a dispute with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain which claimed the name and the pill bottles and medical items on display could confuse people looking for a real pharmacy. The name itself was breaching the Medicines Act 1968, which restricts the use of "pharmacy". The restaurant's name was subsequently changed to "Army Chap", and then "Achy Ramp": anagrams of "Pharmacy".
However, initial plans to open further restaurants outside London were quietly dropped and the restaurant itself closed in September 2003.
Hirst, who had only loaned the restaurant the artwork on display on the premises, went on to earn over £11 million when the items were auctioned at Sotheby's. The restaurant's artwork was celebrated in a 2011 exhibition in Leeds Art Gallery.

The restaurant was opened in collaboration with Matthew Freud, Liam Carson of the Groucho Club and Momo’s, and Jonathan Kennedy, one of the founders of Quo Vadis.
The interior was designed in its entirety by the artist and included a number of major Hirst artworks such as ‘Molecular Structure’ (1997–1998). Its convincing pharmaceutical appearance led to threats of legal action by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society for misleading the public. Hirst recalls, “A woman once asked me for an aspirin and I had to say, ‘I’m sorry, we have a strictly no drugs policy here!’”[1] After the initial use of anagrams such as ‘Army Chap’, the premises were eventually renamed Pharmacy Restaurant & Bar.
The restaurant opened whilst Hirst’s installation ‘Pharmacy’ (1992) was on display at Tate Britain. Of the difference between the two, Hirst states that “Art’s dead. Life is alive. Pharmacy’s alive. It’s like: Eat your dinner, complain about the food, wash the plates … It lives. Whereas ‘Pharmacy’s dead.”[2]
Pharmacy was awarded the prize for best-designed restaurant from the Carlton London Restaurant Award in 1998.
On the closure of the restaurant in 2004, Sotheby’s auction house conducted a largescale sale of its contents, including artworks, fixtures, furniture and tableware.

[1] Damien Hirst cited in ‘Damien Hirst’s Pharmacy’ (Sotheby’s, 2004), 20
[2] Damien Hirst and Gordon Burn, ‘On the Way to Work’ (Faber and Faber, 2001), 77

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