The first Museum of Art + Design (MAD) exhibition dedicated to exploring the design and aesthetics of olfactory art, The Art of Scent 1889-2012, presents 12 pivotal fragrances from the last 123 years which profoundly impacted the medium.
Each of the 12 fragrances is experienced individually within a special installation that emphasizes the distinct combination of artistry and raw materials used in their creation. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), the installation invites guests to put their nose into a small opening in the wall, which then releases a puff of the fragrance.
"We didn’t want to show perfume bottles, we didn’t want to focus on videos of the scent artists talking, we didn’t want it to be a kind of exploratorium,” Liz Diller of DS+R told the New York Times. “We really wanted to suck everything out of that place except the scent.”
On view now through Feb. 24, 2013, the exhibition examines major stylistic developments in the evolution and design of those fragrances, and provides unprecedented insight into the creative visions and intricate processes of the artists responsible for crafting the featured works.
“At MAD, we are always looking to push boundaries and question the hierarchies in art by exploring the materials and processes behind groundbreaking work,” said Holly Hotchner, the museum’s Nanette L. Laitman Director. “In plain language, this exhibition is a game changer.”
There is also a “more social” space, as Diller put it, where exhibit visitors can dip strips of paper into petri dishes filled with the fragrances.
The Art of Scent, organized by MAD’s Curator of Olfactory Art, Chandler Burr, features Pivotal Modern and Contemporary Works Including Chanel N ̊ 5 by Ernest Beaux, Jicky by Aimé Guerlain, Aromatics Elixir by Bernard Chant, Light Blue by Olivier Cresp, Pleasures by Annie Buzantian and Alberto Morillas, and Untitled by Daniela Andrier.