Like art, the best kind of oil is the purest. Or at least it’s supposed to be that way.
That may have been the thought process behind the work that Zak Kitnick and D’Ette Nogle made for New York gallery Clifton Benevento’s booth at Frieze New York, which includes bottles of olive oil that hang from the ceiling of an initially unassuming metal crate. (That’s Kitnick’s work.)
Before walking into the metal cube, however, viewers see an oversize vinyl banner (Nogle’s piece) that reads, “California olive oil is superior,” painted in lime-green block letters on a lemon-yellow background. Whether that’s true or not is debatable. About 70 percent of the time, a bottle of extra-virgin olive oil, the purest kind of them all, is cut with cheaper stuff. Which means it’s impure and not at all superior. Chances are, most of the extra-virgin olive oil in high-end restaurants is this wannabe-pure stuff, and Nogle perhaps spoof this by playing a music from a New York restaurant’s playlist from a small speaker in the booth.
Once inside Kitnick’s grey-toned crate, viewers can look up and see squarish bottles of olive oil hung from rails at the top. Lit by yellow fluorescent lights, these bottles hang in circles, their dispenser-tops facing down. They’re hung so high that they’re unattainable. True extra-virgin oil, just like pure art, is an impossible height to reach.