CULTURE & ARTS
01/30/2012 02:10 pm ET

Smells Like Art

Christophe Laudamiel is not a purist. "I love fabric softener," asserts the world-renown perfumer turned high art dissident. While he's no snob about lowbrow smells, his one-week exhibition Phantosmia - All But the Smell, which opened on Wednesday at the Dillon Gallery in Chelsea, is an olfactory delicacy.

Phantosmia -- or, the sensation of smell without a physical stimulus -- features seven unique scent sculptures that intend to christen a new art form. It declares scent is it's own form of art on par with sight and sound. Additionally, the exhibition exposes the bizarre nuances and anachronistic practices of the fragrance industry. And, like any good perfume, it promises a twist at the end. For the first time in fragrance history, a perfumer has published his formulae. However, the success of the show hinges on the industry's willingness to take the bait and the audience's desire to believe they've just smelled something groundbreaking.

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