From the outside, Zak Kitnick’s “EVOO ROOM,” 2015, at the Frieze Art Fair looks not unlike a torture chamber — high steel walls jutting from the Clifton Benevento booth at an imposing angle, some kind of industrial rigging lining its roof. Inside, however, it proves torturous perhaps only for those on a regimented low-fat diet. Hung from the roof are over 60 bottles of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, grouped into bunches of three or four, each outfitted with a spigot; the fluorescent light bars that cast the inside in a warm orange glow are a special type used to prevent olive oil from aging.
Kitnick collaborated on his project with D’Ette Nogle, whose impossible-to-miss lemon yellow banner, hung opposite his piece, declares: “CALIFORNIA OLIVE OIL IS SUPERIOR.” (The actual bottles in the installation, however, come from all over.) Nogle also provided the booth’s soundtrack, titled “Playlist (The New York Restaurant Music Sampler),” 2015, a compilation of top-40 hits one might hear while dining at the Olive Garden.
Kitnick and Nogle bonded over a concern with “the taxonomy of images, labels, and the branding of products,” according to Clifton Benevento associate director Silke Lindner. But for some, the message seemed to get lost in the spectacle: “How awesome would it be, a party where everyone gets doused in olive oil!” gushed a particularly effusive blue-blazered collector. “It’s the potential that makes the installation.”
— Anneliese Cooper (@DawnDavenport)