NY Art Museum to Open Exhibit of ... Smells

Chandler Burr explains the world of 'olfactory art'

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 2, 2012 3:50 PM CDT

(Newser) – You won't be able to go and see the special exhibit the New York Museum of Art and Design is opening on November 13—but you will be able to go and smell it. The show, The Art of Scent: 1889-2012 is a first-of-its-kind exhibition of what Chandler Burr terms "olfactory art." Burr, a former scent critic for the New York Times, is the world's first and so far only curator of nostril-based artwork, and he sat down with the Daily Beast to talk about the field.

When he gives reporter Blake Gopnik a sniff of one work, Gopnik just smells perfume. But to Burr it's a "portrait" of a woman being stabbed—"and it is the smell of her blood, running down the blade." Another work depicts the city of Siena, in what Burr calls "one of the most accomplished, technically virtuosic realist works I've ever smelled." But will museum-goers, more accustomed to using their eyes than noses, get all that? "This is probably as far afield as we've gone in terms of experimentation," MAD's director concedes. For the full interview and profile, click here.

This undated photo provided by the Museum of Arts and Design in New York shows Chandler Burr, former New York Times scent critic, and now the museum's first curator of olfactory art.
This undated photo provided by the Museum of Arts and Design in New York shows Chandler Burr, former New York Times scent critic, and now the museum's first curator of olfactory art.   (AP Photo/Museum of Arts and Design)
Your nose will be getting an education at the Museum of Art and Design's new show.
Your nose will be getting an education at the Museum of Art and Design's new show.   (Shutterstock)
Then-scent critic Chandler Burr takes place in an exclusive Starbucks scent and coffee tasting in this 2010 file photo.
Then-scent critic Chandler Burr takes place in an exclusive Starbucks scent and coffee tasting in this 2010 file photo.   (Photo: Business Wire)
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