Tue, Nov 1, 2011 12am - Sat, Dec 3, 2011 12am

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Penicillin ad in Scope Magazine, designed by Lester Beall, 1949

Penicillin ad in Scope Magazine, designed by Lester Beall, 1949

The Herb Lubalin Study Center at The Cooper Union presents


Graphic design in the pharmaceutical industry from the 1940's to present day
Free and Open to the Public

The Herb Lubalin Study Center at The Cooper Union examines the influence and impact of graphic design on the pharmaceutical industry in PHARMA, a new exhibit featuring original and rarely seen works by luminaries including Andy Warhol, Lester Beall, Will Burtin and Herb Lubalin. PHARMA's exploration begins with the avant garde promotionals of the 1940's, when a market need emerged to promote "miracle" drugs, such as Penicillin, to the medical industry. In a compelling and thought provoking way, PHARMA presents the relationship graphic design has had with the pharmaceutical industry ranging from the federal government's increased regulations to new marketing tactics where the everyday consumer, not the doctor, is considered the target audience. While the exhibition provides examples of past and present, the public is encouraged to reflect and question how graphic design is used to market drugs and design has transformed these commodities into objects of desire.

In addition to graphics, the show will feature:

  • the evolution of pharmaceutical marketing from early patent medicine promotionals to present day direct-to-consumer ads;
  • examples of prescription drug packaging;
  • the establishment of the FDA and increased regulations on drug marketing;
  • the advent of agencies specializing in pharmaceutical marketing and the use of common advertising techniques such as jingles and slogans to market drugs; and
  • how the ubiquity of pharmaceutical marketing cultivates the creation of spoofs, serves as source material for artists, and created a new niche of products such as "cosmeceuticals."

Opening reception:  Tuesday, November 1, 2011 6-8pm
Exhibition Dates:    November 1-December 3, 2011
Exhibition Hours:  Monday-Thursday 10-6, Saturday-Sunday 12-5,
Closed: Fridays and November 24-27
41 Cooper Gallery
Lower Level 1

Located in the 41 Cooper Gallery, located in 41 Cooper Square, on Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.