‘Now Is Better,’ Says Legendary Designer Stefan Sagmeister
Is the world getting better? Or is it on the verge of collapse?
Stefan Sagmeister emphatically believes that things are looking up, and his art exhibition “Now Is Better” showcases a bold new way to convince the world that he’s right. He takes actual paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries, disassembles them, and creates new works by juxtaposing them with data visualizations of just how much things have improved since the good old days.
Some works chart the incredible decline in deaths on the battlefield, from famine, and from natural disasters while others map how much cheaper food and lighting have become in real terms. One piece documents the explosion in the number of guitars per person on the planet—an indicator of growth in leisure and entertainment—while another charts the persistent belief that crime is always rising despite its well-documented decline.
A heralded graphic designer who has designed album covers for Jay-Z, The Rolling Stones, and Lou Reed, Sagmeister has won two Grammy Awards, including one for his design of the Talking Heads’ boxed set Once in a Lifetime. Born in Austria in 1962, he’s called New York City
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