The Enter Gallery Pharmacy

One of art’s greatest powers is its ability to draw attention to matters that need to be exposed or reframed. One such issue that we see explored time and again in art, is the world of mind-altering substances, and the insidious powers that control their distribution.

Limited edition art prints by Marc Quinn | Enter Gallery

From Joanna Rajkowska and Marc Quinn producing haunting sculptures containing painkillers and prescription drugs, to Bryan Lewis Saunders taking different drugs and creating works of art while feeling their effects, it seems that creating pharmaceutical art is addictive.

In today’s blog, we’re taking a look at three of Enter Gallery’s artists who have dived into the murky waters of pharmaceuticals in their art, and in the process, have made us think differently about the medicines we’re prescribed…


Damien Hirst

Of course, we can’t talk about this subject without looking to Damien Hirst – an artist who has been exploring the world of pharmaceuticals since he first came up with his series of medicine cabinets, in 1988, while studying at Goldsmith’s.


Limited edition art prints by Damien Hirst | Enter Gallery

Sinner (1988)

Hirst’s first cabinet was titled, Sinner. It was a touching tribute to his grandmother, who suffered from lung cancer, created from the medicines that were left over upon her death.

Hirst has continued to create medicine cabinets throughout his career, often presenting harmful goods like meds or cigarettes as objects of aesthetic contemplation. In the process, he encourages us to consider whether these items are a cure or a curse, poison or medicine?


Black Heaven, Nite Time art print by Damien Hirst | Enter Gallery


Hirst’s installation, Pharmacy, was an early example of his obsession with the minimalist aesthetic employed by pharmaceutical companies. It also demonstrated his belief in the near-religious role medicine plays in our society.


Hirst continued his exploration of pharmacies and the drugs they dispense in his Spot Paintings – which have been named after everything from Valium and LSD, to chemicals created by pharmaceutical company, Sigma Aldrich.

We also have his Last Supper series, which saw him depict a menu on pharmaceutical packaging, and his Pill Prints, featuring medication presented in a Warhol-esque colour palette. 


Additionally, Hirst completed an extensive photography project beginning in 2005, where he photographed all of the individual pharmacists and their premises located in the Greater London area. The project captured over 1,800 pharmacists, and intended to “present a portrait of the city through the people and places that prescribe the medicines we take on a habitual and daily basis.”


Gold Tears art print by Damien Hirst | Enter Gallery


View artworks by Damien Hirst.


Lucy Sparrow

Lucy Sparrow is a British artist known for recreating products, foods and even sex toys, all from felt and a needle and thread. Over the years, Sparrow has worked on a number of installations, recreating bodegas, sex shops, supermarkets, and even her own franchise of McDonalds.



In 2021, Sparrow transformed a Mayfair gallery into a fully stocked chemist, with every product handmade in felt. The enjoyable combination of installation and performance art saw Sparrow decked out in a white coat, offering her diagnoses, and serving customers everything from the morning after pill, to Viagra.

His N Hers by Lucy Sparrow | Enter Gallery

Sparrow has created her own fluffy interpretation of Hirst’s medicine cabinets in His N Hers  - a pair of bathroom cabinets containing the kinds of toiletries you might expect from a typical couple. As well as prescription meds, the cabinets also feature products like Tampax, Vaseline and condoms.

View artworks by Lucy Sparrow.

Ben Frost

Ben Frost is an Australian artist that we are welcoming to Enter Gallery this week. Frost is best known for his Packaging Painting series, in which he pairs pop culture characters with packaging from pharmaceuticals, including Codeine, Oxycontin and Ritalin.


What's Up Doc limited edition art print by Ben Frost | Enter Gallery

While outwardly funny, Frost’s ingenious pairings actually reveal deeper questions surrounding consumer drug culture, and the significant impact these legal drugs have on our lives.  


Oxycookie limited edition art print by Ben Frost | Enter Gallery


Speaking of the impact of the series, Frost tells us:


“Pharmaceuticals are a very personal part of a lot of people's lives, and I get sent so many packages from all over the world - which, once painted, I think provide a sense of meaning, joy and belonging to what can be very challenging individual experiences.”  


View artworks by Ben Frost.