Art251 recently acquired an Art-O-Mat vending machine according to a newswire on Glasstire.

For those of you that don’t know (I’ll admit I didn’t until I looked into it) an Art-O-Mat is a refurbished cigarette vending machine that sells original art. A cool idea that apparently got started in 1997 when artist Clark Whittington used one to sell black and white photographs from it during a solo show.

Every Art-O-Mat is unique and I had more fun looking at all the machines on the website than I did looking at some of the art vended from them. It’s cool to see an interesting new way for an artist to get discovered, but so far I haven’t been terribly impressed with the art.

You are also going to have a hard time effectively sampling an artists work from pieces the size of a match box (unless I’m mistaken about how these things work). So, is the trade off of being exposed to a variety of markets worth the loss of originality or the danger of becoming bland?

Update: It was pointed out to me that these are cigarette vending machines not match box vending machines so “pieces the size of a match box” is not correct. It should read “pieces the size of a cigarette box”. My apologies.