Thursday, November 11, 2010

First Museum Exhibition of Perfume as Art Form in Museum of Arts & Design

"The first-ever museum exhibition on perfume as an art form will premiere at the Museum of Arts and Design in November 2011. Organized by MAD and curated by Chandler Burr, the scent critic for The New York Times, The Art of Scent, 1889-2011 will examine ten pivotal scents as masterful works of art, crafted from both natural raw materials and synthetic molecules. A special installation designed by architect Toshiko Mori that utilizes atomizing machines will provide visitors with a pure, olfactory experience of each work in the exhibition.
The Art of Scent highlights major stylistic developments in the history of olfactory art, beginning in the late nineteenth century—when the use of synthetic materials ushered in the modern era of fragrances—through the present day." [source]
The interesting part is that it will be a semi-blind reception of the odoriferous craftmanship that is ingrained in the 10 fragrances presented: the viewers will be smelling the scents in identical canisters, devoid of the outer characteristics and only demarcated by name, perfumer and year of creation; this idea is carried on to the exhibition catalogue that will offer 10 identical sample vials of the perfumes presented alongside essays by Chandler Burr. His goal? "My goal for this exhibition is to transform the ways in which people respond to scent artists and their art. The works presented in this exhibition are ones that have each had a profound impact on the history of this artistic medium." These works include Jicky, Chanel No.5, Fracas, Eau d'Issey, Angel and Pleasures.


  1. That will shake us consumers up good and proper! I am rubbish at spontaneous, cue-less recognition and I expect many people are.

  2. I'd love to get to experience that exhibit.

    Sorry to post something off topic, but I've been trying to investigate a mystery with only moderate success, and ... well you've always been very good at getting to the root of things, so I thought I'd ask -

    I'm wondering if Bulgari Black is in the process of being discontinued. It's a matter near my heart as in terms of mainstream fragrances, Bulgari Black is certainly one of my favorites, and I think it's adored by many other perfume lovers as well.

    I've noticed it disappearing from stores, and from online retailers ... so eventually, I wrote to Bulgari:

    I was wondering if you could let me know whether or not the fragrance Bulgari Black has been or will soon be discontinued?
    I have noticed that it's no longer appearing in some stores as well as being absent from some popular online retailers of Bulgari fragrances. Thank you so much for any information you can share,
    Me (name removed)"

    and received this reply:
    "Dear (name removed),
    We thank you very much for your e-mail and your interest in our brand.
    Further to your request, we regret to inform you that the BVLGARI Black has been discontinued in the UK .
    We thank you for your understanding and stay at your disposal for any further information you may need.
    Best regards,
    BVLGARI Parfums Client information Service"

    Now obviously there is a difference between truly discontinued, and just "discontinued in the UK". I posted on makeupalley's fragrance board ( ) and another member from Canada also wrote to the company, and was told that the fragrance has not been discontinued in Canada.

    I certainly don't want to cause a perfumista panic ... but if there's going to be a stampede, I'll have to join in as Bulgari Black is my husband's one true fragrance love (and it smells so fantastic on him ... one part fetish, one part mechanic, one part cuddly softness).

    Anyhow, I was hoping maybe you could get to the heart of the matter! AKA - is it in the process of being truly discontinued, or only in some countries (or maybe just in the UK?) and if it's being discontinued, why?

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read this, whether or not you choose to investigate -


  3. Vanessa,

    it would be even MORE interesting if they only mentioned artist and year. And no name but a number and leave anyone guess.... ;-)

  4. Ann,

    extremely interesting subject and of course I will investigate and come back! Thanks for bringing it here, I love this kind of challenge.

  5. Oh, thank you so much!


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