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Museum of Arts and Design to Present The Art of Scent Exhibition

The Museum of Arts and Design in New York is to Present The Art of Scent 1889-2012 an exhibition on view November 13, 2012, through January 27, 2013. This 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.

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, including:

• Ernest Beaux, who in 1921 used chemical compounds known as synthetic aldehydes in combination with a floral structure to create the first great modernist work with Chanel N ̊ 5;

• Bernard Chant, whose Aromatics Elixir (1971) was one of the great mid-twentieth century works that brought America into the forefront of perfume creation;

• Olivier Cresp, whose Angel (1992) is the paradigmatic gourmand work of the late 20th century;

• Annie Buzantian and Alberto Morillas, who in using a carbon dioxide extraction in their influential Pleasures (1995), mainstreamed a major technological advance in the medium and altered olfactory design; and

• Daniela Andrier, whose Untitled (2010) is an ingenious neo-brutalist work that references nature both violently and abstractly.

The Museum of Arts and Design explores how craftsmanship, art, and design intersect in the visual arts today. The Museum focuses on contemporary creativity and the ways in which artists and designers from around the world transform materials through processes ranging from the handmade to cutting edge technologies. The Museum’s exhibition program explores and illuminates issues and ideas, highlights creativity and craftsmanship, and celebrates the limitless potential of materials and techniques when used by creative and innovative artists. MAD’s permanent collection is global in scope and focuses on art, craft, and design from 1950 to the present day. At the center of the Museum’s mission is education. The Museum’s dynamic new facility features classrooms and studios for master classes, seminars, and workshops for students, families and adults. Three open artist studios engage visitors in the creative processes of artists at work and enhance the exhibition programs. Lectures, films, performances and symposia related to the Museum’s collection and topical subjects affecting the world of contemporary art, craft and design are held in a renovated 144-seat auditorium.

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