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Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show Installation View 01

Installation view of Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show, March 20 – June 7, 2013 at MOCA Pacific Design Center, courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, photo by Brian Forrest

Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles presents the first Los Angeles museum exhibition of the work of graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister. The exhibition Stefan Sagmeister The Happy Show follows presentations at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (April 4-August 12, 2012) and the Design Exchange in Toronto (January 9-March 3, 2013), and will open at MOCA Pacific Design Center on March 20-June 9, 2013. Sagmeister not only tests the boundary between art and design, but often transgesses it through his imaginative implementation of typography. The Happy Show, a thematic exhibition of film, print, infographics, sculpture, and interactive installations 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.

Centered around the designer's ten-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. To contextualize the maxims that appear throughout the exhibition, Sagmeister has gathered the social data of Harvard psychologists Daniel Gilbert and Steven Pinker, psychologist Jonathan Haidt, anthropologist Donald Symons, and several prominent historians. In addition to individual works, some of which have been custom-made for this exhibition, The Happy Show includes a personal narrative, as Sagmeister's individual experience is portrayed beside social data detailing the role of age, gender, race, money, and other factors that determine happiness. A 12-minute segment of the Having Guts, a feature length exploration of whether it is possible to train the mind the way we train the body, will also be on view.

Stefan Sagmeister (b. 1962 Bregenz, Austria; lives New York) is a designer who blends typography and imagery in striking, fresh, ambitious, and unsettling ways. Having influenced the culture of design over the past decade, he is perhaps best known for his album covers for Talking Heads, Lou Reed, OK Go, and The Rolling Stones, to name only a few, as well as innovative campaigns, for companies like Levis, that have entered the public consciousness.

Stefan Sagmeister The Happy Show is organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania.
The exhibition is curated by Claudia Gould, the Helen Goldsmith Menschel Director, The Jewish Museum, New York.
Generous support for MOCA Pacific Design Center is provided by Charles S. Cohen.
Additional Support by Levi's.

ICA is grateful for primary sponsorship from The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage through the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative. Additional funding has been provided by ICA's Leadership Circle. ICA is also grateful to The Chodorow Exhibition Initiative Fund for support of the exhibition's tour. We are grateful for the support of The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; The Dietrich Foundation, Inc.; the Overseers Board for the Institute of Contemporary Art; friends and members of ICA; and the University of Pennsylvania. General operating support provided, in part, by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund. ICA receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. ICA acknowledges Le Meridien Philadelphia as our official Unlock Art partner hotel.