[Posted this afternoon on The Volume]
Not many artists can claim as broad a CV as that of Nico Muhly, a young Juilliard-trained composer who has worked with Björk, Antony, Philip Glass, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and many, many others. If you plan to catch Grizzly Bear with the Brooklyn Philharmonic this Saturday, you'll be hearing Muhly's orchestrations. His work in video and film, meanwhile, has covered everything from The Reader to Wonder Showzen.
And that's just the routine stuff. In 2005, Muhly hooked up with artist Maira Kalman to create a musical version of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style (which we previewed here). For a performance he created with Icelandic designer Shoplifter at the Kitchen last year, Muhly combed and teased the hair of three compliant models, as regular associate Nadia Sirota scrubbed away at her viola nearby.
Now, in the latest salvo of Muhly's comprehensive assault on the realm of the senses, he's teaming up with director Stewart Matthew, fragrance designer Christophe Laudamiel and musician-producer Valgeir Sigurdsson for Green Aria, the world's first "ScentOpera," at the Guggenheim Museum May 31 and June 1. According to the press release, audience members will listen to music by Muhly and Sigurdsson in a darkened room while a "scent organ," designed by Fläkt Woods, triggers "scent microphones" attached to each seat, which will emit suggestive scents to tell the story. We're oddly fascinated by the notion…but then, we've always been suckers for a pungent gimmick.