Last week I finally went to the Museum of Art and Design to check out the terrific exhibit “The Art of Scent,” which showcases the modern olfactory arts. Olfactory arts! Not just “come smell the perfumes,” but Olfactory. Arts. The elegant simplicity of the exhibit space belied the complexity of the experience, and you guys, I was WOWed. Visitors can sample twelve scents dating from 1889 (Jicky by Guerlain) through 2010 (Untitled by Maison Martin Margiela), which were elucidated with projected descriptions that alternately waxed and waned thus encouraging the viewer (smeller? experiencer?) to slow down and spend time with, think about, and luxuriate with each scent. Complimenting the main exhibit area was a separate space with a special museum person, a crowdsourced description wall, samples of each scent, and some kind of amazing videos of the perfumers/olfactory artists describing things like how they love the dirty, fur-hair smell of sloths and also enjoy terrible smells – like the kind that clear out a subway car – too. Diller Scofidio + Renfro designed the space and I REALLY want to go back again before it closes February 24th and hopefully catch a gallery talk.
Image via Brad Farwell at Wallpaper.