Frieze New York 2015

Lost and Found: Frieze New York Visitors Wander Into Aki Sasamoto’s Maze

The entrance to Aki Sasamoto's Coffee/Tea.

The entrance to Aki Sasamoto’s Coffee/Tea.

Aki Sasamoto’s Coffee/Tea, a maze-like structure that is part of this year’s Frieze Projects at Frieze New York, had a constant stream of people on the first day of the fair. Queued up in a snaking line at the entrance, many, including myself, had no idea what they were getting into. All I was told as I entered the work was that I would have to start by choosing between coffee or tea, and then I would be faced with more choices.

I chose coffee. That was a no-brainer—I have two cups a day and rarely ever drink tea. So I walked over to the door on the right, which had a basin filled with coffee beans attached to a white, handleless door. The next choice was less obvious. A door with a circle of wispy cotton attached to it or one with a plainer white circle? I chose the cotton.

Once inside, I went into a square room with two planners, each with an arrow inscribed in their leather case. There was no door to the right, so I opened the right planner. Suddenly, a Siri-esque voice said, “Four.” I looked to my left and saw another handleless door marked “4,” so I went through it.

The exit to Coffee/Tea.

The exit to Coffee/Tea.

In the next room there were four low, swiveling stools and an instructional image, crudely drawn in chalk, that told me to sit down and listen for instructions. I did, noticing that two doors—one with a cryptic “ding” written on it, the other with “ding dong”—were on either side of me. I heard a “ding dong,” so I went through that door.

In the next and final room were two white spheres—one with women’s underwear on it, the other without it. The underwear one looked like a Nancy Davidson sculpture, which also looked like women’s underwear fitted around a ball. It was familiar, so I picked that. Somehow, I ended up back in the “Four” room. Another visitor poked his head through the door and then, seeing that he had accidentally found someone else in the maze, retreated. I chose “2” this time, and somehow ended up outside the maze.

Outside the last door, a beaming man greeted me with a maroon pin that read “into vague.” How did I end up with this button, and why? I’m not sure, but I guess I’m not into knowing all the answers to everything.

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