Café Gratitude, (2012) Josh Kline; from ‘Public Relations’ at Night Gallery, Los Angeles.

Yoga mat smoothie, anyone?

Well, how about flip-flops and patchouli oil? Artist Josh Kline makes the most tasteful, foul-tasting health drinks

The 34-year-old American artist Josh Kline makes remarkably apt lifestyle drinks. Only, you probably won't want to consume any of them any time soon. In 2012, for the Public Relations group show at the Night Gallery, Los Angeles, Kline installed Café Gratitude, a shelf lined with brimming plastic cups. Each vessel contained a liquidized summation - blended by the artist - of various lifestyle choices, from magazines and shoes, through to cannabis samples and health food snacks, every drink skewed contemporary lifestyle choices.

Is he laughing with us or at us? Well, Kline seems to have an acerbic take on popular culture; his 2013 show at the Night Gallery, called Made in California, presented some of the Golden State's better-known products, from Macs to mineral water in a less-than-flattering light.


 Café Gratitude, (2012) Josh Kline; from ‘Public Relations’ at Night Gallery, Los Angeles.
Café Gratitude, (2012) Josh Kline; from ‘Public Relations’ at Night Gallery, Los Angeles.

This spring, New Yorkers can take in acid lifestyle pastiches. Kline's unusual drinks will form part of the High Line's Archeo show. This outdoor group show, 18 April 2014 – March 2015, will bring together works by artists “who employ outmoded technologies and outdated machinery as a reflection on humanity’s continuous fascination and frustration with technology.”

"The installation on the High Line is about class in New York. Each smoothie is a portrait of a different contemporary lifestyle," Kline explained over email. "Grouped together the smoothies being produced will form a kind of site-specific landscape of aspiration, deprivation, depravity, and taste in one of the richest cities on Earth."

"The design of the smoothies is based on $12-$16 dollar bottled juice cleanses sold in high-end organic groceries in the US for well-off people looking to lose weight and detox - the luxury of not-eating," Kline continues. " Each smoothie has its flavor listed on the front of the bottle followed by a list of ingredients in Helvetia font."

The High Line says Kline will install an industrial refrigerator on the High Line, containing “homemade smoothies which are made with unusual substances spanning from kale chips and squid ink to sneakers and yoga mats, each ironically describing a character, thus parodying the energy drink culture and the customization of taste.”

Just remember to look, not sip. For more on this go here; and for greater insight into how smoothies ended up in galleries, consider our book, Defining Contemporary Art.