A year or two before the pandemic was even a thing, I noticed a vending machine similar-looking to this one installed in Union Square subway station. Likely sponsored by CVS or Duane Reade, it was stocked with common hygiene and healthcare items — such as a toothbrush/ toothpaste, Advil, and Tampax — that you might need in an emergency on your way to wherever. Not a bad idea, really. Who hasn’t forgotten to put something important in their purse or bag and wished there was a drugstore in the subway. I’m sure I have.
Looking at this vibrant, pop art painting entitled Co-Vending by artist and gallery-owner Jackie Fuchs (spotted at the recent Art Expo) I immediately flashed back to the machine I’d seen in the subway station. Closer inspection, however, reveals that the machine’s offerings are all the items that have become synonymous with the Covid Life of the past two years: masks, hand sanitizer, wipes, face shields, disinfectant, a tape measure to ensure proper social distancing, and even a Covid home test. If art imitates life, I’d say the artist really captured the zeitgeist with this piece.