The Art of Scent

I recently experienced an intriguing olfactory exhibit at The Museum of Arts and Design. MAD, located in New York City, explores the fields of art, design and craft. Exploring radical approaches to art and design, MAD is one of very few museums to feature olfactory art and artistic perfumery.

"The Art of Scent 1889-2012" is the first museum exhibition to recognize scent as a major medium of artistic creation. The exhibition focused on twelve fragrances created within the time period of 1889-2012. Some of the fragrances included "Jicky" by Aimé Guerlain in 1889, "Chanel N° 5" by Ernest Beaux in 1921, "Osmanthe Yunnan" by Jean-Claude Ellena in 2006 and "Untitled" by Daniela Andrier in 2010.

The installation allowed participants to experience the twelve works void of any marketing, packaging or visual design. The lack of visual distraction placed emphasis on the fragrance itself, allowing participants to truly experience the diverse fragrance notes and raw materials. Upon triggering the fragrance emission a backlight typographic image slowly appeared on the gallery wall. The image revealed detailed information about each fragrance such as title, creation date, artist, process and development.

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