Vending Machine Art

Would you pay the same price for a painting as you would for a carton of milk or a carpet? Over 8,000 European collectors already have, making DIX 10, a pair of French artists who paint under the whimsical assumed names of Roma Napoli and J.J. Dow Jones, top selling painters in terms of volume, at least.
The unconventional duo made their American debut last month at Shadyside’s Mendelson Gallery with a typically avant‑garde show designed specifically for Pittsburgh. Titled « Robotics ’85,‑ the show included paintings of robots, ranging from $100 to $2,000. DIX 10 has a penchant for theme shows and for making art accessible. They’ve painted the merchandise in gift stores, groceries and rug shops in Europe, then charged the same price for the painting as the item ‑ be it an oriental rug or a cluster of crab legs ‑ cost. They sell their work in vending machines in Paris, but not all of their art is easily affordable: Their version of the « Mona Lisa, » called « Oeuvre Inestimable, » costs, like the original, $45 million.

Gallery owner Steve Mendelson, whose own penchant for showmanship landed the two artists substantial publicity ‑ as well as a New York debut following the Pittsburgh opening ‑ said that the theme was selected to tie in with Pittsburgh’s commitment to high tech.
Although the show here ran November 7 through December 5, ,works will still be available through the Mendelson Gallery, 286 Morewood Avenue. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 12 to 5 p.m.