Stefan Sagmeister: art and commerce collide

“Banana Wall” (2008) Click through for the ‘after’ image

Only Stefan Sagmeister could create an exhibition comprised solely of his commercial work and still call it art. “Another Exhibition About Promotion and Sales Material” opened recently at Lausanne’s Museum of Design and Contemporary Appled Arts (MUDAC), showcasing only the designer’s work commissioned by clients (as opposed to personal projects). The exhibition is divided into four parts and includes posters, album covers and advertisements divided into the following categories:

1. The Promotion of Culture

2. The Promotion of Companies

3. The Promotion of Friends

4. Self-Promotion/Promotion of Sagmeister, Inc.

The exhibition includes two of my personal favorite pieces, “Banana Wall”  and “GGG-DDD Poster.” Commissioned in 2008 by New York’s Deitch Projects, “Banana Wall” is made up of 10,000 green and yellow bananas that spell out “Self-Confidence Produces Fine Results.” A few days after the opening reception, the green bananas ripened and the yellow ones browned, obscuring the message completely. Five years earlier, Sagmeister was hired to create a poster advertising design exhibitions in Osaka and Tokyo. The result was the “GGG-DDD Poster” (below), a before-and-after scenario of the designer weighing in at 178 pounds in the first image, followed by him one week and 25 pounds later after having consumed the contents of everything in the picture. I especially like the inclusion of the issue of The New York Times as a kind of time stamp.

“Another Exhibition About Promotion and Sales Material” runs through June 13, 2011.

“Banana Wall” (2008)