TRAVEL TOOLS, GREAT GADGETS & COOL STUFF TO DO
Clark Whittington is on a mission to get art into the hands
of the people—and he’s using
cigarette vending machines
to do it.
One part mobile museum,
one part gewgaw gallery
and one part Tobacco Road
takes outlawed cigarette
vending machines and
repurposes them to dispense art pieces designed
by more than 300 artists
from around the world. So
far, he’s placed more than
80 machines in art museums, grocery stores, retail
locations and college campuses across the country,
with notable installations
at the Whitney Museum of
American Art in New York City,
the Chicago Cultural Center and
the Museum of Contemporary
Art in Los Angeles. And, he plans
to add 15 ART-O-MATs per year.
“It’s not a novelty … but it is a novel way of offering serious art
created by living artists,” Whittington says. Dropping $5 into one of the kitschy
ART-O-MATs may yield you a pop art pewter sculpture of a saltine cracker by
New York-based Herbert Hoover. Or a miniature mobile. Or a piece of styrogami—origami
crafted out of recycled Styrofoam cups by
artist Jules Vitali. Or jewelry. Or a painting.
In all, the former coffin-nail dispensers
distribute more than 20,000 pieces to art
aficionados per year—pretty impressive
for a project that flourished, in part, because tobacco sales via vending machine
were banned. Call it cigarette serendipity.
For more information on locations, check
artomat.org. —J. T.
It’s in the Bag
A bag is a perfect holiday gift.
Given empty, it speaks of un-
being whisked away for a sur-
prise New Year’s destination.
Filled to the brim with great
gifts, it speaks of a year that
promises bounty, abundance
and love. Plus, with a bag this
pretty, you can skip the wrap-
ping altogether. Bric’s Life
Rossa series, a new release
for the 2006 holiday season,
features the subtly chic con-
trast of the warmest hues in rich
red cotton with chocolate brown
trim. Seen here: the Weekender
bag. $295. Available at Brics, 535
Madison Ave., NY. Visit www.brics.
it or call 212-688-4490 for details.