With the Happy Show closing in just two weeks, I finally got my act together and headed down to the Museum of Vancouver for a Saturday afternoon of fun, games and deep personal thought.
Even as an admirer of art and design, I have a tendency to breeze through museums. A quick stroll past every piece is all I usually need; I can be pretty impatient. The Happy Show is the first exhibition I’ve been to where I actually feel confident that I saw all the art, understood all the art, and loved all the art. Part of the reason is that the show brings together science and graphic design, which happen to be two of my favourite things.
Drawing from facts, figures, and Sagmeister’s personal experience over 10 years of research, the show presents quirky findings and funny experiences in a variety of interesting ways. I read everything on every wall, watched every film from beginning to end, and lingered in the main entrance, chewing on gumballs, trying to Shazam the theme music for over 15 minutes. I just liked being there. The show allows you to contemplate your own happiness and mental health without feeling like you’ve entered a therapy session. It makes you comfortable, even as it urges you to seek discomfort.
There’s a disclaimer at the front entrance scribbled on the wall, saying that the show cannot boost your overall level of happiness. This may be a quirky way of lowering your expectations (which I learned is key to happiness), but I think I truly was happier when I left, if only for the afternoon.