+ Q Perfume Blog: MAD NYC opens Chandler Burr’s Scent Exhibition


+ Q Perfume Blog: MAD NYC opens Chandler Burr’s Scent Exhibition.

All the best for this ambitious project. All of us perfume lovers who have been keeping our passion in the closet for fear of being considered snob aesthetes are rejoicing!


About Christos

Scientifically minded but obsessed with the subjective aspect of things. Photos copyright of MemoryOfScent, with special thanks to Pantelis Makkas http://pantelismakkas.blogspot.com/. You are welcome to link to my blog but you are definitely not allowed to copy text or use the photos without my permission. All text and main photos are originals and property of MemoryOfScent All perfumes are from my collection unless stated otherwise.


  1. I’d love to read Chandler Burr’s essays for this exhibition. I hope they are published beyond the catalogue. It will be interesting to see how the exhibition is received. I thought the piece in the NY Times was telling of the challenges he will face. I still think there is far more scope for perfume to be appreciated as art without being tied to a recognisable visual art genre. I wonder if this is his first step and going forward a language of perfume art can be established independent of visual arts terminology such as abstract expressionism and post-brutalism?

    • I think this is the real challenge Clayton, to find a code to communicate scents. Although we can try to describe what we see, what we hear and how things feel with our own body we cannot do the same for the “chemical” senses, taste and smell. With taste we can cook something similar because ingredients and methods are widely available. Perhaps fragrances are descriptions of dreams themselves so we may never be able to dissect them.

  2. Ah great!!! Thanks for the update on the show. It would be wonderful if he could send the show around the world for those of us who can’t get to New York just this minute.

  3. Irina

    wish i could be there…

  4. This is going to sound bitchy, but these terms: Romanticism, Abstract Expressionism, Early American School, Industrialism, Surrealism, Minimalism, Photo Realism, Kinetic Sculpture, Neo-Romanticism, Luminism, and Post-Brutalism, all have well-established meanings. I predict that professional art critics are going to be all over this–like dogs to raw meat…

    Certainly most of the perfumes showcased in this exhibit are pop cultural icons and exemplars of successful marketing campaigns. The connection to anything approaching fine art has yet to be made… The only thing that can easily be deduced from this display is which companies are big sponsors of the event. Let’s put the problem in the form of a question: are there any perfumes in this exhibit produced by a perfume company which is not a financial sponsor of the event?

    • Well, you said all the bitchy things I was thinking but did not to write as a host of this blog. As much as I am happy about this exhibition and the coverage perfume is getting I share all your concerns.

  5. My problem with this whole production is that it is empirically indistinguishable from an ingenious holiday-season marketing scheme to garner a huge surge in sales of best-selling fragrances which are now aging and have been falling out of favor as so many new perfumes are being launched at such a furious pace. People who visit this exhibit will buy Light Blue, Pleasures, Angel, and the others for gifts this year, which means that they will not be buying the perfumes of independent and niche perfumers. Wallet shares are finite…

    So there you have it: yet another victory for the big corporate houses, to the detriment of the small independent, often truly artistic perfumers….

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