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German vending machines now sell miniature art in boxes

By Laura Trowbridge     Nov 2, 2010 in Entertainment
Dozens of vending machines selling reasonably priced miniature artwork in little boxes have been installed across Germany by an artist wanting to make it easy for everyone to access the world of art.
Lars Kaiser is a 35-year-old artist from Potsdam, Germany, near Berlin. He came up with the unique idea to put small art samples into vending machines so anyone can buy a piece of art any time of the day or night.
Even Kaiser's vending machines have been uniquely decorated to attract attention to the artsy wares inside. There are now about 100 of these machines found in bars, public buildings and on outside walls across Germany. Back in the 1960's and '70's these vending machines sold condoms, gum or cigarettes, but have been refurbished to sell the artwork of around 140 professional artists now.
Kaiser told Reuters: "We wanted to get art into places that don't have anything to do with art so that it would become a part of everyday life.
"The artists are very creative. The boxes contain every kind of art you find in a larger format elsewhere."
Customers cannot choose the pieces or a particular artist when purchasing from the vending machines. However, all the artwork is original, one-of-a-kind sculpture, painting or collage by a large selection of various artists, and that fit into little boxes.
"We want it to be a surprise so you're forced to experience the work of an artist you might not normally pick," Kaiser said.
The boxes cost two euros ($2.78) in the Berlin area and three euros ($4.20) in other areas and contain inserts with "details of the artist’s life, work and website address," allowing customers to contact the artists if they wish.
"We get good feedback, especially from people in the age range 20-30 who wouldn't normally go to a gallery," Kaiser said.
With the increasing popularity of the art vending machines, Kaiser is installing two to three machines in places around Germany each month. He is also looking to bring one of his vending machines to the Netherlands sometime this month.
There is no money in selling these inexpensive art samples in vending machines, however.
Kaiser said: "We could make profit if we charged four or five euros for the art but we don't want to -- we're more interested in art and in making it accessible."
More about Art, Miniature, Vending machine, Lars kaiser, Germany
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