ABOUT THE ABSOLUT ART COLLECTION
There are diverging opinions as to how the work by Andy Warhol was commissioned. One version of the story was that Warhol voluntarily proposed the idea to Michel Roux at Carillon Importers (who represented Absolut in the USA at that time) over dinner: “I love the bottle. I want to do something with this.”
Michel Roux was a regular fixture in the New York nightlife in the 1980s and mixed with New York’s jet set and trendsetters, which is how he first met Andy Warhol. A Swedish entrepreneur named Titti Wachtmeister was also active in New York at this time and it has been claimed that it was she who suggested the idea to Andy Warhol of a work of art depicting the Absolut bottle. This story also seems credible, as Wachtmeister and Warhol were good friends.
Warhol recommended a number of other artists for future commissions. The ones we know with certainty received commissions from Absolut because of Andy Warhol, were Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf. These two artists belonged to a younger generation of underground artists in New York. Both Scharf and Haring worked and mixed with hip-hop artists, pop and rock musicians, graffiti artists and were active in New York’s club scene. Their art was colourful, celebratory, irreverent, and crossed the boundaries between high and low, commercial and underground.
The Absolut art baton passed from Andy Warhol, to Keith Haring to Kenny Scharf. After that, it is less clear how the artistic commissions from Absolut vodka came about.
In the mid-1990s Absolut lifted its gaze from the American market and began making serious plans to create a European art collection of rank. Absolut’s previous strategy had been to present works of art in an advertising framework. Although they continued to present works of art in advertising campaigns, Absolut’s artistic collaborations from the mid-1990s onwards were marked by a completely different respect and understanding for art on its own terms. This resulted in collaborations with well-respected contemporary artists of high status and many of the most striking works of art in the collection were commissioned at this time.
After many years in Paris and New York, the entire collection is now gathered together in Sweden in the care of the Museum of Spirits where the works will have their own dedicated exhibition space and will become the basis for an ongoing series of unique curated exhibitions that will change several times per year. The collection includes works by prominent Swedish artists such as Linn Fernström and Dan Wolgers.
This autumn, the Museum of Spirits presents work by Béatrice Cussol, a fascinating example of the feminist current in art – and since 2003, represented in the unique Absolut Art Collection. Artist Jens Fänge designed the room where Cussol’s work is displayed. Like Cussol’s art itself, the white and blood-red walls spark associations to love, but also to more or less unpleasant bodily fluids.Read more:
150 Years of Club Kids invites you to experience every aspect of club culture. Meet the provocative stars of the night – the ones who inspire us to dance wilder, party longer and stumble home at dawn. The ones who have made the Stockholm night wonderful and treacherous since 1863.Read more:
“Sweden: Spirits of a Nation” is Spritmuseum’s major exhibition, focusing on the Swedes’ bittersweet relationship to alcohol. The exhibition is designed as a walk through the seasons of the year, given shape through sceneries, scents, tastes and music.Read more:
Read more about Absolut Art Collection.