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Art Matters Lecture - Olfactory Ecologies and Contemporary Art with Hsuan L. Hsu

Thursday, July 7, 2022
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Mary Craig Auditorium

Hsuan L. Hsu, Ph.D.
Professor of English, University of California Davis

Although the sense of smell has long been marginalized in the Western aesthetic tradition, contemporary artists have been experimenting with olfactory materials that act on breathers on a visceral level, entering and biochemically transforming their bodies, minds, and moods. Focusing on artwork by Peter De Cupere, Boris Raux, Anicka Yi, Renée Stout, and Tanaïs, this talk considers three ways of framing scent as a medium of environmental knowledge and intimacy: as a vehicle for communicating environmental toxicity, as an intoxicating and intimate form of human and more-than-human communication, and as a way of making public "smellscapes" more breathable and meaningful for people and communities whose olfactory experience has been attenuated by Western projects of deodorization and olfactory consumption.

This event is in person at Santa Barbara Museum of Art's Mary Craig Auditorium.

In an effort to create the safest possible environment, please note visitors who plan to attend an event in SBMA’s Mary Craig Auditorium must show proof of being fully vaccinated with a booster (if eligible) OR, in some cases, supply a negative Covid-19 medical test result (taken within 72 hours prior to each event), along with an official photo ID, before entering the venue. All visitors must also follow SBMA’s mask policy and wear a mask while attending events in SBMA's Mary Craig Auditorium.

credit: Wifredo Lam, The Eternal Presence (An Homage to Alejandro García Caturla) (detail), 1944. Oil and pastel over papier mâché and chalk ground on bast fiber fabric. RISD Museum, Nancy Sayles Day Collection of Modern Latin American Art. Courtesy of the RISD Museum, Providence, RI.


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