At Gagosian’s sales space at Frieze New York, you’ll find an array of abstractions by Albert Oehlen, whose works have offered for sums within the low thousands and thousands at public sale. At most honest cubicles, this could be the primary attraction, however right here, it was one thing completely completely different that was luring individuals within the occasion’s early hours: a useful merchandising machine plopped down within the middle of Gagosian’s area that drew a brief line simply after 11 a.m.
On provide is a bunch of bottles containing Kafftee, in any other case often known as Cofftea, a coffee-tea hybrid that’s accessible for the taking. Each has on it a label that seems to be a drawing by Oehlen depicting a hand with a watch whose arms are spinning uncontrolled. The drink’s producer, Aqua Monaco, ominously guarantees on its web site that Cofftea “will never let you sleep again.” ARTnews can neither verify nor deny that assertion as of press time for this text, however the day continues to be younger. The drink actually does style strongly of caffeine.
Cofftea is, in some sense, an art work, and it has appeared at museums such because the Serpentine Galleries in London, the Palazzo Grassi in Venice, and the Aishti Foundation in Beirut. (The Cofftea at Frieze is out there without cost, and it can’t be purchased as an art work, a Gagosian consultant stated.) That could seem uncommon till you take into account that there’s at the least one forerunner for this piece. Oehlen’s stunt remembers the Soylent drinks that artist Sean Raspet delivered to Frieze New York in 2016.
To get hold of your very personal Cofftea, you’ll want a token being given out by Gagosian representatives on the sales space. (The tokens are emblazoned with Oehlen’s initials and the gallery’s title—a pleasant contact.) You then insert the token into the merchandising machine, which bears the phrase “THEY ARE COMING TO TAKE ME AWAY” on its aspect, and out comes a bottle when you punch in a quantity corresponding to every row.
Asked in regards to the taste of the Cofftea, one individual handing out free tote baggage on the sales space described it as “a little bit weird.” So, how does Cofftea style?
Not nice, precisely. On the primary sip, it has an odd bitterness. On the second, it tastes a bit sweeter, although even stranger, extra natural. On the third, you come to appreciate that espresso and tea don’t belong collectively. I didn’t make it previous the sixth mouthful.
What this all means is all a bit ambiguous. Oehlen, nevertheless, instructed the New York Times this week that the Cofftea bottles, which do themselves not represent a chunk, are linked by an curiosity in “commercialism”—see the commercials for chocolate and different merchandise that determine within the abstractions close by as proof.
Whatever the case could also be, it will possibly actually be stated that Cofftea is likely one of the solely issues accessible on the honest without cost. A phrase to the sensible in search of these drinks: come to the honest armed with a bottle opener.