Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show is a thought-provoking and engaging exhibition that inspires happiness.
One of the largest exhibitions in MOV's 120-year history, this astonishing experience transcends the boundary between art and design. It takes over museum galleries and in-between spaces-stairwells, hallways, and restrooms-in order to ask: what makes us happy?
Sagmeister, who has documented his struggles with alcohol and drugs, weight gain, and depression, first conceptualized The Happy Show in an attempt to define and control his own happiness during a client-free sabbatical—a year-long break he takes every seven years to creatively recharge. The final display is the result of 10 years of research into his own personal happiness.
Confronted with stories about wellness, mindfulness, and sexuality, viewers will be immersed in an experience akin to walking into Sagmeister’s mind. The Happy Show is comprised of an array of engaging infographics, video projections, and interactive installations, including a stationary bike that powers a wall of neon, a giant inflatable monkey, and a series of gumball machines that displays visitors’ collective level of happiness. Audiences will also enjoy a preview of Sagmeister’s soon-to-be-released documentary, The Happy Film, which depicts his attempts to increase his happiness through meditation, cognitive therapy, and mood-altering pharmaceuticals.
MOV will engage visitors in a diverse array of public activities that extend The Happy Show into the community. Programs include a public symposium on ideas for happier communities led by one of the world’s foremost experts on the subject, University of British Columbia Professor John Helliwell; a series of Happy Hours that will encourage Vancouverites to meet each other and inspire happiness through interaction; and a series of guerilla street interventions that invite social connection.
Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show is organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, curated by Claudia Gould. Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Additional support provided by The Chodorow Exhibition Initiative Fund; 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.
The Museum of Vancouver is grateful to the partners, sponsors, and institutional funders that made it possible to share Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show with you.