April 22, 2016 - Museum Angewandte Kunst - Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show
April 22, 2016

Museum Angewandte Kunst

© Sagmeister & Walsh. Photo: John Madere.

Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show
April 23–September 25, 2016

Opening: April 22, 7pm–2am

Museum Angewandte Kunst
Schaumainkai 17
60594 Frankfurt / Main
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm,
Wednesday 10am–8pm

T +49 69 21231286


Stefan Sagmeister is a graphic design superstar who lives in the US. In The Happy Show, he will present the results of his ten-year investigation of happiness. Following venues in North America, Paris and Vienna, his successful show will now be on view in Germany for the first and only time: from April 23 to September 25, 2016 at the Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt am Main.

What makes us happy? Can happiness be trained? Stefan Sagmeister embarked on a personal search for happiness and carried out various experiments on himself in order to find out the most effective way of increasing his individual sense of happiness. He tried meditation, concentration and relaxation techniques, underwent cognitive behavioural therapy and took mood elevators. He supplemented the results of these experiments with socio-scientific data provided by the psychologists Daniel Gilbert, Steven Pinker and Jonathan Haidt, the anthropologist Donald Symons and prominent historians, thus placing his findings in a greater context.

In a playful and intriguing manner, Sagmeister processes his research on happiness in highly emotional informational graphics, fascinating headlines, prints, amusingly instructive videos, films, installations and sculptures, thus providing The Happy Show visitors access to his way of thinking. Against a bold background of black and yellow, his works flood an entire floor—more than 1,000 square metres—of the Museum Angewandte Kunst and also spill over into the building’s lifts, ramps and service rooms.

Stefan Sagmeister sums up his personal maxims of happiness and life in catchy slogans, which he then turns into fascinating text-images. His experiments with typography are entirely unique: he forms letters from jello shaking in slow motion; has Balinese dancers perform entire sentences in ingenious choreographies; inscribes naked bodies; and composes messages with bananas, eggs or blobs of cream.

He moreover embellishes the museum’s walls, railings and toilets with handwritten remarks in which he comments on himself and the world with subtle humour and a tongue-in-cheek outlook—with the typical Stefan Sagmeister blend of amusement and reflectiveness that hits the nail on the head.

A visit to The Happy Show, however, is by no means limited to passive viewing. On the contrary, here happiness becomes a collective matter. In various interactive installations the visitors are invited to participate both mentally and physically. A captivating search for happiness in a bright yellow cosmos full of thought-inspiring messages.

The Happy Show was organized by the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute of Contemporary Art and curated by former ICA director Claudia Gould, presently Helen Goldsmith Menschel Director at New York’s Jewish Museum. Following presentations in North America, Paris and at the MAK Vienna, the enthusiastically celebrated exhibition is being curated at the Museum Angewandte Kunst by Peter Zizka.

Stefan Sagmeister
Stefan Sagmeister (b. Bregenz, Austria in 1962) represents a new type of designer: he can be loud, colourful and sometimes eye-catching without becoming dogmatic; he likes to transcend boundaries but never loses sight of the need to communicate. He stands for a mode of graphic design that strives not merely towards the aestheticization or clarification of visual worlds but is concerned instead with the rediscovery of design as an important social factor. Sagmeister projects his messages onto reality and shows that graphic design and typography, often viewed purely as means of promoting sales, can also be used to understand an increasingly condensed and fast-moving world.

Among his most well-known works are his album covers for Lou Reed, The Rolling Stones, Brian Eno & David Byrne and the Talking Heads as well as his innovative campaigns for companies such as HBO and Levi’s.

Director: Matthias Wagner K
Curator: Peter Zizka
Press contact: Dorothee Maas, Julia Ditsch and Julia Quedzuweit
T +49 69 212 32828 / 75339 / 73243 / F +49 69 212 30703 / presse.angewandte-kunst [​at​] stadt-frankfurt.de

Museum Angewandte Kunst
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