In the context of the on-going re-examination of the collection at Kunstmuseum Thun, the first exhibition curated by Ashraf Osman and Anja Seiler focused on the olfactory aspects of the material and techniques of art making, which are often smelly, yet widely neglected. In this context, Claus Noppeney gave a talk on 16 March titled “From Sniffing to Art: The Sense of Smell in Artistic Production”.

You may be familiar with exhibitions that have presented perfume as olfactory art. However, olfactory art is a genre of fine art pertaining to smell that traces its roots back to the avant-garde, early in the twentieth century. A new exhibition at Museum Tinguely in Basel, Switzerland, establishes these historical origins of the genre while showcasing a wide range of practices to the present day that could be understood under this rubric.

In the context of upcoming research on the sense of smell in contemporary art practice, Ashraf Osman recently conducted interviews with two key players in the realm: Brian Goeltzenleuchter, an artist based in San Diego, CA, and Robert Blackson, a curator based in Philadelphia, PA. The interviews focused on the norms, processes, and institutions that promote or hinder the use of the sense of smell in art.