Candy for Your Eyes

But, still from a vending machine.

Next time you find yourself in line for a drink at the Hideout (itself a working art installation, with a scheduled close date of Nov. 31, 2010*), check out the new art vending machine. Like its former incarnation (a jukebox with art in the flip-through CD-case slots), this machine is cash-only, offering a selection of small art to take home with you (prices range from $10 to $75). A reconfigured candy machine, EARL 3.0–The Robotic Art Dealer, is stocked with items like glitter-covered plastic handguns by Kathy Kim and Joey Veltkamp's tiny, square, candy-colored animal paintings. One couple bought every last one of the mini canvases (nine in total), aiming to score the pink one behind several others. "Maybe he's a Microsoftie," my companion wondered. But at 10 bucks a pop, you don't have to be. The piece I was most drawn to was Robbery (shown above), a miniature version of a painting by Seattle artist Chris Crites that traveled to the Red Dot Fair in Miami Beach during Art Basel, appearing with San Francisco's Jack Fischer Gallery. It's an acrylic rendering of a black-and-white, vintage mug shot on a brown paper grocery bag. The near-postcard-size works in the machine are giclée prints on Arches paper, created in editions of 10. If you're lucky, perhaps the machine will malfunction (as they're known to do), dropping two pieces of art for the low, low price of one. *Note: 30 days hath November, so perhaps this fictitious date offers some small hope that this well-loved bar will not actually close in three years. When I asked him about this, Greg Lundgren, the man behind the Hideout, wrote "November 31 is not a misprint, just a reminder that the future is an imagination." Virginia Mason owns the building, and has plans to expand onto that site. Perhaps we can hope for slow permitting.

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