In a MAD World, Making Sense of Scents

Known for displaying and interpreting pieces that document contemporary and historic innovation, The Museum of Arts and Design in New York’s latest show announcement did not disappoint: it’s called “The Art of Scent: 1889-2011.” The exhibition, opening next fall, will take minimalism to a whole new level, featuring only fragrances wafting around the museum’s second-floor gallery space, leaving out the packaging and even the brand names. PHOTO, LEFT, COURTESY OF THE MUSEUM OF ARTS AND DESIGN/DAVID HEALD

Included in the symphony of smells will be classic Chanel No. 5 and perfume pioneer Germaine Cellier’s Fracas, from 1948. Chandler Burr, the exhibition’s curator, told The New York Times, “Guests will be able to trace the evolution of modern perfume much as museum visitors typically follow the trajectory of modern art.” The dozen or more essences will paint a picture of the milestones hit as the fragrance industry has grown, and the exhibition’s catalog will include small vials of selected perfumes. Here’s to happy sniffing.