Inhale…The MAD Exhibit They Won’t Let You See

JickeyThere’s nothing to see…only to experience…in The Art of Scent 1889-2012 currently at the Museum of Art and Design. Designed by Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, the exhibition space is completely bare, save for gentle depressions pressed into the wall where visitors can lean in and experience fragrances considered masterworks of innovation and complexity.

Thank you to curator Chandler Burr for paying tribute to the artists that created these scents. The earliest is Jicky, created by Guerlain in 1889 when the Eiffel Tower was on the rise, the first designer fragrance to use synthetic components.

Walking through these design innovations is an experience you won’t forget. Can you tell that a 1980s fragrance was inspired by the smell of laundry detergent (the essence of “clean”)? Do you agree with Prada’s 1990s take on the romanticism of the 19th century? Do you think Untitled by Daniela Andrier for Margiela in 2010 combines “excitement and unease”, as MAD purports?

MAD has many videos to let you in on the process behind the ephemeral. Listen as Jean-Marc Chaillon discusses what it’s like to create something that can’t be touched:

Ever wonder about the work that goes into designing a celebrity fragrance? Listen in on this enlightening and entertaining curator’s panel on the design and structure of olfactory art:

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