With their exhibition project Beauty Sagmeister & Walsh make a visually impressive multimedia plea for us to take delight in beauty.
Almost throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, beauty (has) had rather negative connotations in the world of design: renowned designers show little interest in it, the contemporary art world has almost entirely given up on it, and in talks about contemporary architecture the word is barely ever uttered. Sagmeister & Walsh counter this antipathy with convincing arguments based on years of research. Supported by the latest findings from the field of psychological aesthetics, they define beauty as a key aspect of our humanity and even go so far as to attest that the negation and avoidance of beauty is downright stupid. Beauty is more than a superficial strategy, according to one of the principal messages in the exhibition.
Diverse examples from product design, city planning, architecture, and graphic design illustrate that beautifully designed works are not only enjoyable, but also more effective thanks to their ability to stimulate human senses and thought processes. The exhibition SAGMEISTER & WALSH: Beauty spreads across almost the entire MAK on the Stubenring; multimedia objects and installations appeal to all the senses and invite visitors to make their own interactive design. Even sounds and smells play an important part in the exhibition design.
Divided into six exhibition areas—“What Is Beauty?”, “The History of Beauty,” “In the Eye of the Beholder,” “Experience Beauty,” “Transforming Beauty,” and “The Beauty Archive”—some 70 groups of objects stimulate an aesthetic discourse on beauty as the paradigm of high-quality design. Almost all works are produced especially for the exhibition.
Curator: Kathrin Pokorny-Nagel, Head, MAK Library and Works on Paper Collection/ArchiveSagmeister & Walsh, Logo SAGMEISTER & WALSH: Beauty, 2016 © Sagmeister & Walsh, New York