Stefan Sagmeister’s Latest Exhibition Explores How To Make Yourself Happy

Stefan Sagmeister’s Latest Exhibition Explores How To Make Yourself Happy

The graphic designer has created explores the things we tell ourselves to get through the day using typographic interventions.

Jeremy D. Williams
  • 6 april 2012

Stefan Sagmeister is using typography and social data of psychologists, anthropologists and several prominent historians to challenge an age-old question, how does one attain happiness? During a yearlong leave of absence from the graphic design world, the renowned artist spent time in Indonesia making furniture. Upon returning, he received a harsh critique from a close friend:

He said if I was taking a whole year off, and at the end of it I had only some tables and chairs to show, then it would be pretty skimpy, wouldn’t it? And that somehow seemed true, even though I didn’t want to hear it.

Soon after, Sagmeister began working on a documentary, “The Happy Film.” The film uncovers several years of thinking and reading about the nature of happiness. Although the film is unfinished, it helped Stagmeister produce somewhat unusual content for his exhibition, “The Happy Show.” According to the New York Times, Sagmeister sent sausages as the invitation to the exhibition:

Because, when you get down to it, it seems that the two things that lead most quickly and reliably to happiness are having sex and eating rich, fatty foods.

The exhibition features art, similar to the picture above, with messages written by the artist on and around ordinary objects as well as typography that tests the boundary between art and design. “The Happy Show,” recently opened at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia and will later travel to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. The exhibition also features an introduction to “The Happy Film,” which can be seen below:

Click here to see PSFK’s images from our visit to the exhibit.


Stefan Sagmeister


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