The project called Taidesupermarket Pikasso was really a supermarket. It was set up in a former supermarket with the original shelves and counters, shopping baskets and trolleys - they even had sale during the last days!
Pikasso started with a huge media campaign. They promised to give out 100 pieces of art to first visitors. And they were surprised - a line of over 100 meters for the opening day! There were not enough for all who came to get theirs.
Pikasso featured almost 100 different artists from Finland and abroad. The most expensive work was Andy Warhol's Campbell Soup graphic for 35,000€ whereas the cheapest items for sale was just couple of euros. The number of visitors is said to have almost reached those of Kiasma, Helsinki Museum of Contemporary Art. As for sales, they reached par for monthly sales of top galleries in Finland.
The tho gentlemen behind this innovation are artist Jani Leinonen and marketing executive Jukka Kurttila. Jani Leinonen is one of the hot young artists in Finland with multiple very successful projects, and Jukka Kurttila is a successful marketer from Bob Helsinki, one of the most innovative marketing agencies in Finland.
I talked with Jani Leinonen and Jukka Kurttila about the birth of the project. They said it all started from a dilemma, that ordinary people feel it's very unconvenient to visit art galleries. Galleries have an image of being targeted towards the small group of art connoiseurs. Thus, the wanted to bring art closer to environment that is familiar to everyone. So they thought supermarket.
In Pikasso there were also much larger selection and variety of work available than in galleries. You needn't know whose work you want - just go browsing in and get pick the ones you like.
Pikasso premises were rented from a supermarket chain, so they still had all the furniture left. All they needed to do was to hang the art and produce some supermarket type signs.
The reactions from people have been very positive. There were more artists offering their works for sale than they could carry. The customers and the media have really loved Pikasso.
It's not yet known what will come out of Pikasso project. Will art be sold at supermarkets in the future? Is the role of art galleries going to change? Who knows.
Anyway , buying art was certainly much more accessible than before.