Iredell Museums will host an opening reception for the Art-o-mat exhibit on Feb. 8 from 6-8 p.m. in the Court Street Gallery.
The free event will allow the public to discuss the gallery with Clark Whittington, inventor of the Art-o-mat, some of the artists who stock the machines, and each other, all in an atmosphere augmented by food and drink.
Whittington created the first Art-o-mat in 1997, when he modified a retired cigarette vending machine to dispense small, affordable works of original art in addition to his full-sized works at a gallery in Winston-Salem. The idea caught on, and there are now more than 100 active Art-o-mats in the United States, including machines at Whitney Museum of American Art and Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Artist Chad Beroth has been working all week at the museum to create a new Art-o-mat for the opening reception.
Beroth decided to adorn his Art-o-mat with cave-style paintings, an idea he drew from the machine’s state of disrepair.
“It was covered in rust and I wanted to add some kind of outline, I was thinking with the gray, maybe elephants, but it just fit the whole cave-painting theme,” he said.
“So the elephants turned into mammoths, and the mammoths turned into just a whole series of cave paintings.”