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FROM PALATE TO PALETTE
1323683446Contemporary, yet timeless; witty, yet sophisticated; both the ads and the product have become modern icons and slipped into that gray area just between advertisement and art. Looking back, it is only natural that Absolut Vodka should enter the art world. The story of Absolut Art began in 1985, when Andy Warhol, the godfather of pop art, famous for his interpretations of soup cans and Marilyn Monroe, was commissioned to do a painting of the Absolut Vodka bottle. When the painting appeared as an ad it was an incredible success and got immediate worldwide media attention. Absolut went from popular vodka to pop art and became a an icon. Absolut Art had begun. Warhol later recommended one of his young protégés, Keith Haring, who had risen to fame with his anonymous paintings on the New York subway. Absolut Vodka commissioned its second painting. Works then followed from Kenny Scharf, Edward Ruscha, Stephen Sprouse, Armand Arman, Romero Britto and other leading American artists. To date, over 400 artists have been commissioned, with literally hundreds on a waiting list.

ABSOLUT – THE GLOBAL ART GALLERY

haring_absolutAbsolut Vodka’s art commissions differ from traditional sponsorship. Instead of simply donating money to artists, we help promote talent by bringing it into the international spotlight. Absolut Vodka has become a kind of global art gallery. Chosen artists must display those qualities of taste, refinement and originality that
appeal to Absolut Vodka consumers. The artists are given complete creative freedom, the only stipulation being that the bottle must be visible in the work. Selected artists are usually established or up-and-coming. Sometimes, however, virtual unknowns are commissioned, their work seen for the first time by a large audience. Such was the case with “Absolut Glasnost”, a collection of works by 26 Soviet artists, many of whom had never had their art exhibited outside what was then the Soviet Union. We worked closely with art associations in Moscow to find artists who would be of international interest. The works appeared in an insert in the magazine Interview, in1990, the issue timed to coincide with Gorbachov’s visit to the US.Naturally, Gorbachov was presented with the first copy of that issue.

THINKING BIG WITHOUT USING BROAD STROKES

Absolut Vodka has, over the years, commissioned not only painters, but artists in all the disciplines: sculptors like Arman, crystal glass designers like Bertil Vallien, fashion designers like David Cameron and John Galliano. Sometimes, Absolut Art can go to such extremes as an 11 meter (33 ft.) high ice sculpture of the Absolut Vodka bottle done in the Swiss Alps.

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Absolut Vodka artists work in all fields, including a field in eastern Kansas sown in the shape of an Absolut Vodka bottle. The size of 12 football fields and visible only from the air, the unique piece of “agro-art” was created by Stan Herd, known for his sunflower portrait of Vincent Van Gogh. At Absolut Vodka, we think big, yet no one has ever accused us of using broad strokes. In the US, in the beginning of the nineties, we published “Absolut Artists of the Nineties”, a 40- page spread in the glossy art magazine Art and Antiquesfeaturing 36 artists who promise to be at the forefront of the emerging artistic trends of the decade. The works are of every conceivable style from Dali-type surrealism to cowboy-kitsch. The insert took up nearly a fourth of the magazine.

ABSOLUT FASHION

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Absolut Vodka entered the fashion world in a big way with a small dress. Absolut Cameron was the caption in 1987 when Absolut photographer Steve Bronstein shot model Rachel Williams in a one-of-a-kind dress creation. The commission was a much noticed one and since then Absolut Vodka has had a regular involvement in the fashion world. Absolut Vodka has asked famous and less known designers to create everything from dresses to ties. Absolut Fashions are often worth their weight in gold. One example is Anthony Ferrara’s solid gold dress – made entirely out of 18K gold, 7 kilos (16 pounds) of it to be exact. Price: USD 530,000.

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