Absolut has deep ties to the art world, as it's collaborated with Andy Warhol, Annie Leibovitz, Helmut Newton, Damien Hirst and more than 600 other artists to design ad campaigns for its iconic bottle throughout its history. Now, the vodka brand will sell works of art, as well, through its for-profit ecommerce subsidiary, Absolut Art, which launches in the U.S. on Oct. 5 after running in Europe for the past year.
"Absolut was looking at different industries they could branch out into—they could've gone into hotels or entertainment, but they decided that art was a natural extension," said Nahema Mehta, Absolut Art's CEO. "They've been working with artists for 30 years, so it's the perfect connection to the brand's heritage."
Absolut Art sends a team of curators to cities around the world to check out the art scene and find influential artists in each city. They then recruit those artists to sell their pieces on AbsolutArt.com at accessible price points, from $100 to $3,000. There's a 50/50 revenue split between the artists and Absolut, the standard revenue share when selling art in a gallery. The brand also will host collector events and art studio visits around the country.
The effort is designed to streamline and democratize the art buying process, helping more artists showcase their work on a larger stage while exposing more people to fine art.
"Our goal is to bridge the gap between artists creating and people collecting, and make living with art an everyday opportunity," Mehta said.