The Art of Scent at Museum of Arts and Design ~ upcoming exhibit in New York City

The Museum of Arts and Design will host The Art of Scent: 1889-2012, an exhibit curated by Chandler Burr, starting in November of this year.

The Art of Scent, 1889-2012, is the first museum exhibition dedicated to exploring the design and aesthetics of olfactory art through twelve pivotal fragrances, dating from 1889 to the present, that profoundly impacted the course of the medium. On view November 13, 2012, through January 27, 2013, at the Museum of Arts and Design, the exhibition will examine major stylistic developments in the evolution and design of fragrance, and provide unprecedented insight into the creative visions and intricate processes of the artists responsible for crafting the featured works. The scents will be experienced individually in a special installation designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro that emphasizes the distinct combination of artistry and chemistry entailed in their creation. The Art of Scent will be accompanied by a boxed catalogue designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro for MAD, featuring identically bottled samples of select works in the exhibition.

Organized by MAD’s Curator of Olfactory Art, Chandler Burr, The Art of Scent explores the progression of olfactory art, beginning in the late nineteenth century—when the introduction of synthetic molecules freed scent artists from the constraints of using all-natural materials, making scent a true artistic medium—through the present day. The exhibition opens with the work of Aimé Guerlain, who was among the first to introduce synthetic molecules alongside natural materials with the design of Jicky (1889). The exhibition will then lead visitors through an olfactory experience that showcases the work of the most significant scent artists of the 20th and early 21st centuries...

[...] Presented in MAD’s second floor galleries, the exhibition will facilitate a focused olfactory experience through the near-complete removal of visual indicators, such as logos and marketing materials, encouraging visitors to concentrate exclusively on their sense of smell. The exhibition will also provide visitors with an unprecedented glimpse into the labor-intensive artistic process of creating perfume by showcasing the stages of development for one fragrance, from the initial written brief to the first iteration and through the layering and modification of scent required to reach the final desired work of olfactory art.

Scents featured in the exhibit will include Jicky by Aimé Guerlain, Chanel No. 5 by Ernest Beaux, Aromatics Elixir by Bernard Chant, Angel by Olivier Cresp, Pleasures by Annie Buzantian and Alberto Morillas, Untitled by Daniela Andrier, Drakkar Noir by Pierre Wargnye, L’Eau d’Issey by Jacques Cavallier, cK One by Alberto Morillas and Harry Frémont, and Prada by Carlos Benaïm and Clément Gavarry.

The Museum of Arts and Design is located at 2 Columbus Circle in New York City; hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm and Thursday and Friday from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm (closed Mondays and major holidays). Admission is $15 for adults.

(via press release)

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  1. hajusuuri says:

    This sounds (smells?) very intereting! I’ll definitely be checking it out. Thanks for the heads up, Robin!

    • Robin says:

      It should be quite interesting, esp. the emphasis on the development of one particular scent — would be really cool if you could smell some number of the actual mods they went through, and sounds like maybe that’s what they’re planning.

  2. zubi says:

    Please plane-ticket fairy, New York, soon!

    I miss NYC…. Let’s hope I’ll be need to be around when this opens.

    • Robin says:

      Ha…if you learn how to contact the plane ticket fairy, do let me know!

  3. littlemoron says:

    I would just love to go to this – I’ve always wanted to know how a scent is created. It seems like magic to me. Why does New York always have to have the coolest things? A trip down there is just completely not in the cards for me in November! *weeps*

    • Robin says:

      There are some great books on the subject! For the basics on how a scent gets made, highly recommend Cathy Newman’s Art & Science of Perfume, and then next level, Michael Edwards Perfume Legends. And Chandler Burr’s The Perfect Scent is very informative on how the perfume industry operates.

      • littlemoron says:

        Thank you for this, Robin. I’ve been looking for a good perfume book, so I’ll definitely check these out! :-)

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