Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum
Vending machines have now come to the fine art world. They are called Art-O-Mats and you can purchase art for as little as $5.
In the late 1990s, artist Clark Whittington took advantage of the ban on cigarette vending machines and re-purposed one to sell his cigarette-packet-sized photographs. The idea took off and Whittington now oversees 83 active Art-O-Mat machines, including our new addition to the Luce Foundation Center.
The machines are more art installations than they are vending machines, but each one is fully-functioning and sells original art for just $5.
Over 400 artists from ten different countries currently participate in the Art-O-Mat project, contributing paintings, jewelry, prints, sculptures, collages, and mixed-media creations. Each work is the same size as a packet of cigarettes and comes wrapped in acetate. You see a small description of the content on the machine, but you don’t know exactly what you will get until you make a choice and pull the handle. The mystery is half the fun!
The Luce Foundation Center has recently reported getting one. Their model is a late 1950s National Consoline Vending machine that was discovered on the outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee.
Seems like a fun way to get started collecting original art.