Germany Installs Art Vending Machines Where Cigarettes Were Once Sold

A rendering of what the art vending machine could look like. Photo: Augsburger Allgemeine

The small Bavarian town of Landsberg, located about 60 kilometers west of Munich, is making headlines with an new initiative that plans to convert cigarette vending machine into tiny, coin-operated art shops.

It seems hard to imagine now, but up until only a few years ago, these cigarette vending machines—accessible to anyone—were still installed in public. As new restrictions on smoking age were instituted, these machines were taken down. This innovative idea could give them new life.

As soon as the first art vending machine is installed on September 5, residents and visitors can purchase original signed and numbered artworks for only €5, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Augsburger Allgemeine reported that art buyers can choose from six different works, and the selection will be updated every three months. The first round includes pieces by artists and art collectives from the region who won a competition to have their works sold in the machine.

The idyllic Bavarian town is unexpectedly at the forefront of art innovation. Photo: holidaycheck.com

The idyllic Bavarian town is unexpectedly at the forefront of art innovation.
Photo: holidaycheck.com

The project seeks to give emerging regional artists a platform from which to display and sell their works. At the same time, it also aims to introduce art to a new audience that may feel too intimidated by gallery or museum settings.

Several cities around Germany have experimented with similar vending machines for cultural goods. The idea is derived from low-cost book vending machines which were set up in public spaces around Germany to make literature more easily accessible and to encourage more people to read.

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