Happiness is the focal point in a new exhibit at The Jewish Museum. In “Six Things: Sagmeister & Walsh,” the Austrian born artist Stefan Sagmeister delves into the six tenets of happiness that he believes has contributed to his own personal happiness. Since 2000, Sagmeister has investigated the cultural and regional meanings of happiness. Is it possible to make ourselves happier? He presents a seemingly simple concept, but its message permeates consistently throughout the exhibit through its compelling and ingenious five short videos and one interactive floor sculpture.
Five videos comprise the exhibition along with six tenets of happiness that are written on the black walls in chalk. They include: If I Don’t Ask I Won’t Get; Keeping a Diary Supports Personal Development; Be More Flexible; It Is Pretty Much Impossible to Please Everyone; Now Is Better; and Feel Others Feel.
The videos are executed beautifully using sleek bright typography affecting the viewer in a multitude of ways. When viewers enter the exhibition, we see phrases immersed in brightly colored water balloons, then popped and exploded slowly for a dramatic effect. The other videos present other phrases using materials such as sugar cubes and bubbles.
The exhibition also presents scientific data next to his own mantras of happiness in which Jewish people reported the highest levels of happiness among all religious groups.
Sagmeister and Walsh is a New York based design firm creating a wide range of marketing, advertising and branding materials for an eclectic group of companies. They have created materials for an impressive roster including HBO, Columbia University and Rolling Stone. The design firm is known for its shocking and experimental design and marketing methods. When Sagmeister created his design firm nearly a decade ago, he sent out postcards of himself nude in hopes of attracting new clients. It worked. In Spring 2013, he joined forced with Jessica Walsh who is now his business partner.
“Six Things: Sagmeister & Walsh” is open at The Jewish Museum until August 4, 2013.