Museum Says Stinky Perfumes Are “Art”


Uh, weird. The Museum of Arts and Design is launching a “Center of Olfactory Art” today, dedicated to perfumes and scent as an art form. The museum’s director told the AP that it’s launching the center because “scent is a really interesting part of the world of design” and MAD is a “sensuous, sensory-oriented museum.” And, duh, smell is a sense.

The first exhibition, “The Art of Scent, 1889-2011,” will launch next November and feature 10 famous perfumes along a six-foot-wide path where “buttons on a specially-designed atomizing machine” will basically spray you with fragrances. (Which means by the end of the day, you’ll probably smell like you walked into a Sephora and smashed every perfume tester bottle on yourself.)
Chandler Burr, The New York Times‘ former “fragrance critic,” will serve as the center’s curator. He’ll also narrate an audio guide about each perfume, although the focus seems to be on the science and, um, art, of the fragrance (not the art or design of, for instance, the perfume bottles).
The whole thing sounds about as pleasant as walking around an Abercrombie & Fitch store for an hour and soaking up that god-awful cologne they pump through their stores (although perhaps with better lighting and less flannel), but it’s an interesting… concept?
In the meantime, pass the coffee beans, thanks.