Las Vegas is one of my favorite places and when I put the computer away and took a couple of days off, that’s where I land. I see the Elvis collection at the former Las Vegas Hilton. This is where his long running show was. Elvis’s sunglasses are the coolest and while I loved Liberace’s perfect rhinestoned car on display on the strip, nothing struck me as more interesting than the refurbished cigarette machines that say Art-o-Mat across the front of them.
It was my first time at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Whoever crafted the vibe of the 3rd floor has superb taste in everything vintage and mid-century. It worked perfectly with contemporary and I am sure most enjoyed the warmth and comfort of the seating areas and didn’t notice how cool it really is. This is where I see the Art-o-Mat machine.
I circled, knowing it was vintage and authentic. It had been restored, but minimally, keeping an original air. With the terrible reception only Vegas casinos can provide, I Google it and see Art-o-Mat has 100 refurbished cigarette machines all over the country and they are stocked with miniature individual pieces of art! 400 artists participate in keeping Art-o-Mats full.
As a vintage dealer who is discovering vintage and contemporary art, it reaches all my senses.
I put five dollars in the machine, pull the handle, nothing. In true slot machine mentality, I put in another five and get nothing. The security guard at the Cosmopolitan is concerned by my loss in the art machine (they have an art machine!) and send me to where the fresh Art-o-Mat pieces are. I excitedly dig through the box, what a treasure hunt! I keep going back to pieces by Chad Beroth. I hope he becomes famous if he isn’t already, I love what he does. I pick up a “Petite Postage Portrait” by Sian Robertson. It features an old-school retro roadmap and vintage postage stamps.
I need one in the Vintage Garage. I’ll even come pick it up! Coming back from Vegas, it’s all I can talk about, everyone should have Art-o-Mat in their lives!