One Man's Stench Is Another's Muse

Beth Fiore
Dec 10, 2012 8:59PM

Art has a new frontier and that is scent art. I was introduced to this concept in 2008 by Chandler Burr. Burr's assistant, Shannon Campbell, asked me if I would like to help him curate a Times Talk he was giving on the relationship between art, scent and music.  The way Burr described fragrance was like an art historian would a painting. It was easy for me to quickly find great works of visual art to parallel great works of scent art, or fragrance as we still call it.  

On the evening of his presentation at the Times Building, slides of artwork were projected while samples of stylistically  matching scents were handed out to audience. It was a truly magical and ground-breaking night that I will never forget.

One of the more playful comparisons from that talk I am sharing here. It is Takashi Murakami's work and his relationship to the fragrance, "Britney Midnight Fantasy". There is much about the design of this scent and the oeuvre of Neo-Pop which Murakami's work fits into, that Burr can only describe. Being such a unique specialist in this field Chandler has become a curator of the Museum of Arts and Design. His first show I urge everyone to see, The Art of Scent 1889-2012 on view through February 24, 2013.

By viewing this show you will be able to understand how scents are made, how they relate to other forms art, art movements and how this new medium is going to move forward.

Also added here is a video by Ralf Schwieger perfumer and scent artist. One thing to you will discover and which might give you better understanding about why Ralf muses from such vile scents, is the fact that a truly amazing scent normally has at its base notes of sweat, body odor and decay. Odd but true! See the exhibition to find out why.

Beth Fiore