Art Bar Installations

Apocalypse Postponed: an Art Bar by Nadim Abbas

Apocalypse Postponed: an Art Bar by Nadim Abbas

Art Basel in Hong Kong, May 2014

Hong Kong born and based artist Nadim Abbas is collaborating with Absolut to create an Art Bar Installation in Hong Kong for the duration of Art Basel in Hong Kong: Apocalypse Postponed – a bunker set in the skyline of Hong Kong.

Abbas studied art at London's Chelsea School of Art, as well as Comparative Literature at the University of Hong Kong. His Art Bar, Apocalypse Postponed, investigates areas beyond rudimentary contemporary art-related topics. Intrigued by bunkers, war and technology, these interest areas are reflected in the Art Bar collaboration.

An exclusive first look at Apocalypse Postponed


Nadim Abbas's Absolut Art Bar, “Apocalypse Postponed”: a cyberpunk bunker located on the 17th floor of the newly-opened Soundwill Plaza II–Midtown located in Causeway Bay, a notoriously dense and overpopulated section of Hong Kong. The location was perfect. Not yet renovated and thus still a grey concrete shell, the space was conceived by Abbas in collaboration with Sebastien Saint-Jean, with wall-to-wall sandbags framing metal-framed windows. A soundscape designed by Steve Hui filled the gaps in a performance programme co-curated by Xue Tan and Shane Aspergen, while a series of animations produced by Wong Ping added to the weird science fiction. In one four-screen installation, Wong Ping presented images that included a man humping a rice weevil (the rice weevil being one of the conceptual anchors for the project), a woman rope-bound and hanging from the ceiling, and a figure sitting alone in a room. In all, the project recalled an obvious reference: “Blade Runner,” a movie that is often associated with Hong Kong's urban landscape, while referencing certain themes in Abbas's work—for one, the concept of the Otaku—the isolated cyber-obsessive who lives reclusively, finding company in a virtual world. See our great moments during Art Basel in Hong Kong here.


The cocktail collection by Nadim Abbas and Absolut

鐵飯碗 (Iron Rice Bowl)
Puffed rice infused Absolut Vodka and White Chocolate syrup stirred and served straight up in a metal rice bowl.

Absolut vodka, Sake, Guava, Lime, Ginger, Lime leaf syrup, Club Soda and Calcium. Shaken and served straight up in a plastic highball together with a Calcium tablet and Ginger pipet.

2666: A Space Cocktail
Absolut vodka, Pomegranate, Beetroot, Citrus, Ginseng tea and Absinth. Served in space vacuum drink pack.

Black Dog
Absolut Elyx, Lapsang tea reduction and Cherry liqueur. Stirred and served over a large ice cube into an aluminum muffin cup.

Night Court: an Art Bar by Ry Rocklen

Night Court: an Art Bar by Ry Rocklen

Art Basel in Miami, December 2013

Absolut Art Bar joins the favorite winter meeting place for the international art world. With miles of sandy beaches dotted with classic Art Deco architecture, world-class art museums, and a glittering nightlife, Miami Beach ranks among America's most iconic cities. During Art Basel, it embraces the artworld with special exhibitions at museums and galleries across the city, transforming the week into a dense and dynamic cultural event. Over 250 of the world's leading galleries participate, drawing over 50,000 visitors each year. Browse through our great moments from day one in Art Basel Miami Beach (5-8 December 2013).

During this year's edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach Los Angeles-based artist Ry Rocklen will create an art bar installation on Oceanfront, Miami Beach. Rocklen has been given carte blanche to program every element of the ambitious installation, from concept and design, to programming and collaborations with international recording artists.

Night Court will draw from Rocklen's recently unveiled line of fully functional furniture made entirely of trophy parts, entitled 'Trophy Modern'. Using the principles and aesthetics of Trophy Modern at the heart of Night Court's design, Rocklen will examine the culture of competition and success. The installation will feature Trophy Modern furnishings including a bar, bleachers, ping pong and chess tables all set within larger-than- life size basketball court markings. So, Night Court is at once a bar, a performance venue, a sports arena and a showroom for Rocklen's new line of furniture, 'Trophy Modern'.

Night Court is the latest and most ambitious incarnation of a project that began in 2011 when Rocklen came across a haul of second-hand sports trophies for sale in a thrift store. Rocklen spends a lot of time in junk shops and flea markets, trawling for those objects that were once cherished but which are now almost at the end of their lives. In the purgatory of the second-hand store, these ex-possessions have one last chance to be valued again.

Meet Night Court Art Bar installation by Ry Rocklen and Absolut.

3D renditions by: Ry Rocklen Photo by: Alexa Karolinski

The cocktail collection by Ry Rocklen and Absolut

In addition to building a bar and various other structures for the installation, Rocklen paired up with mixologist Andres Basile Leon to create bespoke cocktails that complemented the sports theme of the artwork. The result was a group of cocktails that could be appreciated by both the aficionado and the average person.

And one
  • Absolut vodka
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Sugar syrup
  • Fresh blueberry purée
  • Fresh ginger juice
Blood of a champion
  • Absolut Vodka
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Tomato juice
  • 8 drops of Worcester sauce
  • 2 drops of Tabasco
  • Pinch of celery salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Small pinch of regular salt
  • Absolut Vodka
  • Fresh Lemon juice
  • Fresh Orange juice
  • Fresh Grapejuice
  • Sugar syrup
  • Guarana powder
  • 3 drops of caramel coloring (Blue, Red or Green)
The Winning Spirit
  • Absolut on the Rocks

Better Days: an Art Bar by Mickalene Thomas

Better Days: an Art Bar by Mickalene Thomas

Art Basel in Basel, June 2013

Absolut is pleased to announce a collaboration with Brooklyn-based artist Mickalene Thomas on a large-scale art bar installation that will be in operation during Art Basel's show in Basel. Better Days will present a nightly programme curated by Mickalene Thomas, including live performances and appearances by guest DJs. The bar will serve bespoke Absolut cocktails designed by the artist in keeping with the installation's theme.

We are thrilled with Mickalene Thomas's plans for Better Days. She has developed an incredibly ambitious and immersive concept. From celebrity guest DJs spinning ‘70s classics to a bespoke range of punches and cocktails, Better Days will give visitors a truly unique experience.
           - Jonas Tåhlin, Vice President Marketing, The Absolut Company

Mickalene Thomas will transform the Galerie at Volkshaus, Basel into an apartment environment that takes its inspiration from the parties hosted by her mother (the artist's long-time muse) in the 1970s. Better Days is Mickalene Thomas's literal and conceptual reconstruction of the 1970s domestic aesthetic, complete with shag rugs and wood panelling, as well as custom sofas reupholstered with the artist's signature textiles. Each evening, Thomas will introduce guest and resident DJ performers, including DJ YSL and Derrick Adams, who will emulate the disco soundtracks of her mother's parties. Among the guest performers will be Solange Knowles, the internationally renowned recording artist who has collaborated with Thomas on several recent creative projects.

Combining the genres of portraiture and domestic interior, Mickalene Thomas draws on art history and popular culture to create contemporary images of black female sexuality, beauty, and power. Meticulously composed of layers of bold patterns and bright blocks of color adorned with Swarovski rhinestones, the paintings are based on photographic collages that are reproduced at a greatly expanded scale. Thomas draws inspiration from late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century artists such as Édouard Manet, Henri Matisse, Fernand Léger, and Romare Bearden. Combining patterns and styles drawn from a 1970s aesthetic, Thomas's compositions simultaneously recall the “black is beautiful” movement, as well as issues prevalent within the second wave of feminism.

The cocktail collection by Adrian Wong and Absolut

The cocktails recipes below were created by Mickalene Thomas and Absolut mixologist Andres Basile Leon exclusively for the Better Days Art Bar installation.

Proud Mary Proud Mary
  • Rosemary
  • Sugar
  • Absolut Vodka
  • Cucumber
Mama Fay Clarke Mama Fay Clarke
  • Kahlua
  • Cream
  • Absolut Vodka
Phuck U I Phuck U I
  • Watermelon
  • Lavender Tea
  • Various spices
  • Fruits
  • Berries
  • Absolut Vodka
Thangs Thangs
  • Absolut Vodka
  • Gelatin
  • Various Fresh Fruits


Photo Credit: Roberto Chamorro

Wun Dun: an Art Bar by Adrian Wong

Wun Dun: an Art Bar by Adrian Wong

Art Basel in Hong Kong, May 2013

Absolut is delighted to announce a new collaboration with US-born, Hong Kong-based artist Adrian Wong for the first edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong. This new installation, entitled Wun Dun, will transform the basement of the Fringe Club in Central Hong Kong, into an art bar featuring nightly performances and serving a range of cocktails designed by the artist. The bar will be open for the duration of the fair.

I am incredibly excited by the opportunity to work with the Absolut Art Bureau on this ambitious collaboration. The entire team, from the creative staff to the beverage designers, have supported my hare-brained ideas, and their assistance has been invaluable in creating such an immersive experience—from the robotic musicians to the roast duck-infused cocktails.
           - Adrian Wong, Artist

Taking inspiration from Hong Kong's rich and unique history, Adrian Wong will create this latest art bar as a performative, participatory environment. This immersive work of art is inspired by the many different periods of Hong Kong's history. The artist makes use of multiple layers of traditional, often iconic imagery to evoke a multi-sensory impression of Hong Kong’s past. Wun Dun departs from the “real”, official history of the region by simultaneously drawing upon references from film, folklore, superstition, and alternative cosmologies.

The term Wun Dun has a number of different meanings. In traditional Chinese Cosmology the term refers to the primordial chaos that followed the division of heaven and earth. Wun Dun is also a "cosmic gourd" whose shape is taken to represent heaven and earth, and is by extension, a symbol for the entire universe. In Confucianism Wun Dun is a party-loving god shaped like a yellow sack with six legs and no sensory orifices.

In this installation, Wong takes these different meanings and ideas and reinterprets them as a metaphor for Hong Kong itself, an ancient, yet very modern region. Hong Kong is a part of China but with a varied colonial history, much of which has been eroded or forgotten. The complex, intertwined and often-indecipherable layers of Hong Kong’s past are like some great unknowable chaos contained within or behind the slick seamless façade of futuristic modernity.

Wong will orchestrate a series of interventions in the space combining different aesthetic, musical, and architectural references drawn from the idiosyncrasies of the region. From functionally designed banquette seating, popular in cafes and bars across the Pearl River Delta, to an animatronic backing band supporting septuagenarian lounge singers still active in Hong Kong, Wun Dun will provide an anachronistic view into the depths of the city’s collective consciousness.

The cocktail collection by Adrian Wong and Absolut

The creation of bespoke Absolut cocktails composed of complex combinations of flavours has been an important aspect of Adrian Wong's working process on the Wun Dun project. The layers of Hong Kong's complex history are mirrored in the experience of the drinks Adrian Wong has developed together with mixoligist Andres Leon Basile. Vodka infused with duck fat and served with Pak Choi, a Martini cocktail flavored with Oolong tea, picked by monkeys! drinks mixed with wolfberries (Goji berries), ginger and star anise; all these flavors and aromas combine with the setting of Wun Dun to form a fascinating, mystery-laden portrait of Hong Kong.

These cocktails were created by artist Adrian Wong and Absolut mixoligist Andres Basile Leon exclusively for the Wun Dun Art Bar installation.

Cape Gooseberry Ginger Soup Cape Gooseberry Ginger Soup
  • Absolut Vodka
  • Cape gooseberries
  • Ginger
  • Lime
  • Sugar & Star anise
Duck Vodka Duck Vodka
  • Absolut Vodka
  • Roast duck "fat wash"
  • Sugar
  • Bok choy
Monkey-Picked Oolong Martini Monkey-Picked Oolong Martini
  • Absolut Vodka
  • Monkey-picked Oolong tea
  • Sugar
  • Egg-white
Wolfberry Spritz Wolfberry Spritz
  • Absolut Vodka
  • Wolfberries
  • Persimmon
  • Lemon & Soda


Photo Credit: Christian Hagward

The Güiro: an Art Bar by Los Carpinteros

The Güiro: an Art Bar by Los Carpinteros

Art Basel in Miami Beach, December 2012

Absolut is proud to present Güiro, a specially commissioned work by artist duo Los Carpinteros. Los Carpinteros have created a large-scale architectural construction based on the concept of an open-air art bar.

The title of the work, Güiro, is the name of a traditional Cuban percussion instrument made from the shell of a dried tropical fruit. This dried fruit has also had many other functions within Cuban culture, as a container for food, and as a drinking vessel. The word Güiro is also a word used in Cuban slang to connote a party. The Güiro represents many fundamental aspects of life; the rhythm of music, the sharing of food and drink, and the euphoria of celebration. The slatted oval-shaped building will be lit from within, emphasizing its gridded structure and making it a glowing beacon of light in the surrounding area. A centrally positioned circular bar will serve a range of Absolut cocktails. From here, the bartenders have a panoptic overview of the whole space. Many institutional buildings such as libraries, schools and prisons use the concept of the panopticon in order to optimize the surveillance of the building and the individuals who use it. The Güiro has been designed with this purpose in mind, linking this newly created structure with previous works in which Los Carpinteros have investigated issues of surveillance and power.

Distinguished Mallorcan composer Joan Valent has conceived a special program of music highlighting the sounds of the Güiro instrument.

The Güiro art bar is located on the Oceanfront at Miami Beach between 21st and 22nd street. The bar is close to other public art installations in Collins Park, exhibited in the Art Public section of Art Basel Miami Beach.

Viewing the artwork at night, the Güiro is illuminated from within and without, its grid structure glowing with a soft warm light. Although the Güiro was conceived as a functional bar with its own unique interior life, the artists’ intention was also to create a sculptural object to be viewed from a distance. The form of the Güiro is based on the designs for panoptic buildings. By making use of an open grid structure for the Güiro, Los Carpinteros have gone some way to breaking down the usual positions of power associated with the panoptic building. The semi-transparency of the structure makes the difference between inside and outside almost imaginary. The bartenders in the Güiro have a position of some authority by being at the center of the panoptic space. However, the perforations in the architecture open up many possible viewing points from both inside and outside the building, thus breaking down those positions of power. The Güiro is the first sculpture made by Los Carpinteros as a functional social space, a new experimental direction in their artistic practice realized for the first time through their collaboration with Absolut.

Los Carpinteros invited the mallorcan composer Joan Valent to compose and perform a number of unique musical pieces to coincide with the opening of the Güiro at the oceanfront on Miami Beach.

Joan Valent is a composer and musician working in what can be described as a post-minimalist tradition. Joan Valent has worked in Madrid and Los Angeles, creating his own classical compositions as well as creating musical scores for television and cinema productions in Spain and the United States.

Joan Valent’s music is derived in part from Spanish and Latin American musical traditions, and in part from developments in minimal music, a musical genre closely associated with the work of composers such as Steve Reich and Philip Glass. The repetitive forms and structures in Valent’s musical compositions are at once truly modern, and at the same time reflect musical ideas from both traditional Latin American and West African cultures.

The cocktail collection by Los Carpinteros and Absolut

The following cocktails were created by Absolut's top bartenders in collaboration with the artist duo Los Carpinteros. To connect the drinks with the Güiro sculpture /art bar, the artists wanted to make cocktails where the flavors would bring to mind earthy, woody qualities.

Absolut Güiro Absolut Güiro
  • Absolut Vodka
  • Fresh carrot juice
  • Fresh orange juice
  • Fresh ginger juice
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Sugar syrup
  • 2 big pinches of fresh coriander
  • + lime wheel
Clove Sour Clove Sour
  • Absolut Vodka
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Clove sugar syrup
  • + orange peel and 8-10 pomegranate seeds
Telegram Telegram
  • Absolut Vodka
  • 1 small piece of red chili
  • + herbal salt


Photo Credit: Roberto Chamorro

Documenta (13), June 2012

Documenta (13), June 2012

Absolut shares documenta (13)’s commitment to developing research and new works across multiple disciplines. This resonates with absolut´s engagement with artists working across different media. Absolut is particularly excited about documenta (13)’s focus on conviviality and lending its support to projects that bring people together through art.

“I am pleased by the partnership with Absolut as both dOCUMENTA (13) and Absolut focus on conviviality and the continuity of the body in and with all forms of organic life. This is a colorful Documenta and committed to creating moments of being together in meaningful ways. The Maybe center for conviviality supported by the Absolut provides such a condition.” - Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Artistic Director of dOCUMENTA (13)

Absolut is delighted to be a Patron of dOCUMENTA (13) and to support The Maybe Center for Conviviality; Artists’ Cocktails Here at the Absolut Maybe Bar.

The Maybe Center for Conviviality

The Maybe Center for Conviviality is a platform for research into art and key contemporary issues in our society including the cultural relationship between food, drink, art and creativity. Located within the Ständehaus, at the heart of dOCUMENTA (13), The Maybe Center for Conviviality will be the site of a sharing of knowledge and ideas by some of today’s leading artists, writers, theorists, scientists, anthropologists, and philosophers. 100 days of programming at the center will include panel discussions, talks, lectures and performance. Full programme information will be disclosed on Wednesday, 6 June on the dOCUMENTA (13) and Absolut.

Artist´s Cocktails

Absolut supported artists Ryan Gander and Mario García Torres to conceptualize a fully operational bar to act as a unique meeting place in The Maybe Center for Conviviality. Both artists share an interest in mixology, and have chosen to approach the bar as an opportunity to share their discoveries with the wider public.

Gander is currently compiling a book of 100 cocktails conceived by the artist’s friends, while García Torres, inspired by Yves Klein’s blue cocktails famously served during an opening at the Iris Clert Gallery (1958), began collecting historical cocktail recipes based on the notion that cocktails can be conceived as a work of art. Thirteen different cocktails will be served as part of Artists’ cocktails here at both the Absolut Maybe Bar and a selection at the Wandering Bar, a mobile bar appearing at key events throughout dOCUMENTA (13). Cocktail recipes include an artist’s tear, a dried bee and unique serving instructions. Additional cocktails will be designed to be undrinkable, existing only as a concept like Fiona Banner’s Punch, served with a boxing glove and a bell.

A signature cocktail, Absolut Artemisia, was developed in collaboration with Absolut mixologists Andres Basile Leon and Erik Andersson on the occasion of dOCUMENTA (13). It will be available at select bars and restaurants around Kassel. “The invention of a cocktail holds many similarities to the conception of a work of art. Choosing ingredients with backstories and cultural references, as well as specifics in their aesthetics, and jumbling them together with strategies and devices that produce associations and collisions. For me the work of requesting and gathering newly invented cocktails from artists over the last few years has been like the role of a collector, and the book that is in production, 100 Artists’ Cocktails, will ensure it was also one of conservator. It’s nice to see artwork fall into the everyday world that way” Ryan Gander, artist.

Pierre Huyghe - Beetle Juice Pierre Huyghe - Beetle Juice
  • 1 leaf from an orange tree
  • 1 bee (dried)
  • 1 drop of orange blossom honey
  • Triple sec
  • Limejuice
  • Transparent very fine glass
  • NOTE: This drink contains an actual bee, please take care when drinking
The Polonium Litvinenko The Polonium Litvinenko by Gabriel Lester
  • Vodka
  • Gin
  • Blue Curacao
  • Lime Juice
  • Clove
  • Tonic Water


Photo Credit: Mario Garcia Torres, Ryan Gander

A House of Leaves, London  2012

A House of Leaves, London 2012

Absolut joined the David Roberts art foundation in presenting the welcome cocktail reception for a vip dinner to celebrate the foundation’s move to new premises on Mornington Crescent, North London.

Among the guests were influential art world figures such as Iwan Wirth, President of Hauser & Wirth (London, New York, Zurich), Sadie Coles, Director, Sadie Coles HQ (London) and Gregor Muir, Director, Institute of Contemporary Art (London). The guests were served bespoke Absolut cocktails including Absolut Artemisia.

David Roberts Art Foundation (DRAF) is an independent foundation for visual arts based in London. DRAF seeks to develop a challenging, international and collaborative program of exhibitions and events. DRAF is responsible for a collection of more than 1800 works, representing more than 700 international artists. Many artists are collected in depth, which allows for a close understanding of their practice.

This exhibition, A House of Leaves, is based on studies and reflections on three major artworks that provide a basic structure for the show. The exhibition is conceived as a symphony in three movements plus an epilogue. The first movement was structured around a sculpture by Louise Bourgeois. An abstract painting by Gerhard Richter introduces the second movement, and a performance by Pierre Huyghe will take us into the third movement in early 2013. Each of these phases will involve the exchange and substitution of artworks on display, creating a constantly changing line-up of artists. A House of Leaves will end with an epilogue, based on an emptying out of the space, exposing its architecture and volume. This last stage of the show will put the spotlight the museum’s long-term works, special commissions and interventions that have been embedded into the material structure of the building.

The Kirlian: an Art Bar by Jeremy Shaw

The Kirlian: an Art Bar by Jeremy Shaw

Art Basel in Basel, June 2012

Absolut gave artist Jeremy Shaw carte blanche to conceptualize a fully operational bar to act as a unique place of conviviality, at Volkshaus No.5, The Gallery, just minutes from the fair. The result was a bar informed in equal parts by Shaw’s deep background in music and his interest in Kirlian photography; an out-moded photographic technique that captures the magnetic field, or presumably, the emotional aura, of both inanimate objects and living things. The Kirlian - space full of hidden potentials, specifically soundtracked for daytime unwinding, evening socializing, and night time dancing.

The cocktail collection by Jeremy Shaw and Absolut
The Unseen Potential The Unseen Potential
  • Absolut Vodka
  • Créme de Violette
  • Lemon Juice
  • Sugar Syrup
  • Club Soda
  • + Cucumber Slice
The Absolut Artemisia The Absolut Artemisia
  • Absolut Vodka
  • 3 drops Pernod Absinth
  • Lemon Juice
  • Sugar Syrup
  • Club Soda
  • + Lemon Wedge
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