Exhibit: Trade-O-Mat

  • Photo by Tim Johnson
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From the October 11, 2012 edition

Last week the Columbus Museum of Art launched a program that gives local art a spot on its venerable walls and art lovers a chance to own said art without spending a dime.

The vending machine-style, art-for-services Trade-O-Mat is a project by California-based artist Kathryn Kenworth.

“I think a lot of it has to do with the idea of bypassing consumption and monetary systems set up by our government,” said Susie Underwood, CMA studio programs coordinator, of the appeal of Trade-O-Mat to the artists. “This is also a great way to connect the museum with the local art community.”

Here’s how it works: A guest curator selects five artists to display one piece each in the Trade-O-Mat display case, which is located in the CMA’s Center for Creativity. Museum visitors fill out cards listing their trade request and contact information and put it in a slot below their desired artwork. “Shoppers” can barter anything for the artwork — from recipes to snow shoveling services, artwork to clothing. The artists collect the requests at the end of their show’s run and get in touch with the trader whose offer they like best.

Artist Dan Gerdeman curated the inaugural Columbus Trade-O-Mat lineup, which will be up for barter until Nov. 18.