When we usually think about art, for most people the first thing that comes to mind is a gallery with large framed artworks on the wall to be viewed, admired from a distance and not touched. Today we explore a whole new idea to buying and displaying art: Art in a vending machine.
Art in vending machines has been popping up all over the world in recent years but was first brought to the forefront in 1997 by Clark Whittington, in a small coffee shop in North Carolina. He repurposed a recently banned cigarette machine to sell 12 of his photographs during his solo show, calling it the Art-O-Mat. The owner loved the idea so much she asked to keep the machine and continue to sell artists' works. This is when the Artists in Cellophane (AIC), a collective committed to encouraging art consumption “by combining the worlds of art and commerce in an innovative form” through vending machines, was established. There are more than 100 Art-O-Mat’s all over the world and we are seeing more and more people, groups and organisations taking on the idea of selling art through vending machines.