The Happy Show (Works)

Selected Works

Stefan Sagmeister

The Happy Show
ICA Philadelphia, April - August 2012 (traveling)

The Happy Show Press Release

Graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister not only tests the boundary between art and design, he often transgresses it through his imaginative implementation of typography. Filling the ICA’s entire second-floor galleries and Ramp, and activating the in-between spaces of the museum, The Happy Show offers visitors the experience of walking into the designer’s mind as he attempts to increase his happiness via mediation, cognitive therapy, and mood-altering pharmaceuticals. “I am usually rather bored with definitions,” Sagmeister says. “Happiness, however, is just such a big subject that it might be worth a try to pin it down.” Centered around the designer’s 10-year exploration of happiness, this exhibition presents typographic investigations of a series of maxims, or rules to live by, originally culled from Sagmeister’s diary, manifested in a variety of imaginative and interactive forms. The Happy Show opens on Wednesday, April 4, 2012, with a reception from 6–8 p.m., and will remain on view through August 12, 2012.

The Happy Show was organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania by former ICA Director Claudia Gould, currently Helen Goldsmith Menschel Director, The Jewish Museum, New York. The exhibition was coordinated at ICA by Associate Curator Anthony Elms.

The Happy Show traveled to the Design Exchange, Toronto, January – March 2013; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, April – June 2021; the Chicago Cultural Center, July – September 2013; Gâité Lyrique, Paris, November 2013 – March 2014; the Museum of Vancouver, April – October 2015, and MAK in Vienna, November 2015 – March 2016.

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