ah, the smell of art is in the air

There are quite a few 20th century art works that incorporate the viewer’s sense of smell when experiencing the exhibit. I’m not quite sure I would enjoy all of them, but I can say I find them interesting.

The BeaneryEdward Kienholz, The Beanery, 1965, Collection Stedelijk Museum

Kienholz lived near The Beanery, a cafe in Los Angeles, in the 50’s. He re-created the bar with many authentic pieces, as well as authentic smells, apparently.  The strange odor circulated in this exhibit smells of alcohol, smoke, and even the artist’s own urine to evoke the feeling of being in a bar. (yuk!)

Federico DiazFederico Dí­az, LacrimAu

Dí­az, a Czech artist and architect, featured his golden teardrop at EXPO 2010 in Shanghai.  “Looking at the golden tear drop, the visitor will be instructed how to be part of creating their own personal fragrance. The chair interacts with the body heat and EEG brain waves activity etc. This complex information will serve to create the unique Golden Fragrance for every five hundredth visitor of The Czech Pavilion at EXPO 2010 in Shanghai.” – from http://www.zdeneksklenar.com/exhibitions/lacrimau

Peter DeCupere

Peter DeCupere, Olfactory Tree

DeCupere’s sculpture is made from epoxy and plastic foam, with the fragrances of wood, cedar, pine, mushrooms and grass. Smell works directly on our memories and emotions. His aim is to convince us that smell can be the source of a genuine aesthetic experience.

Thinking about my medium, I wonder what smells I would pair with my glass sculpture. There is something to be said for clean and pure air.  I think maybe I’ll pass, and leave the olfactory art to the artists who specialize in that field. Read more in ARTnews.


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