Stefan Sagmeister “Beautiful Numbers” Exhibition

It’s always a little risky to actually meet the people who’s work you’ve admired for many years. Don’t they say “Never meet your hero’s”. So what a nice surprise to meet Stefan Sagmeister & find him to be warm, friendly & even complementary of some of my own work. His new show “Beautiful Numbers“ is perfect example of how conceptual art can also be beautiful. It’s actually a show of optimism.

Below is just a small sample of the exhibition. The shapes on the paintings represent factual statistics. 

1 - Suicide II, 2000/2015 

Suicide rate worldwide, number of deaths per 100,000 population
2000 13
2015 11 

2 - “Suicide I, 1950/2005” 

Suicide rate USA,
1950, 1955, 1960, 1965, 1970. 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000. 2005 

3 - “Oil, 1970/2010” 

gray dot: large oil spills 2010 red dot: large oil spills 1990 yellow dot: large oil spills 1970 

4 - “Death Penalty, 1970/2010”

Abolishment of death penalty 

1970 21 countries
1990 66 countries
2010 98 countries 

5 - “Carbon II”

Carbon footprint of protein-rich foods from le# to right: Cheese 85kg CO2 per 1kg of protein, Chicken 43kg, Beef 250kg, Lamb 200kg, farmed fish 35kg 

6 - "Woman I, 1900/2000"

Female Voting Rights 

1900.1950. 2000

This edited from the Thomas Erben Gallery Press Release..

Beautiful Numbers, Sagmeister’s new body of work was conceived in 2020. Media – reflects a world seemingly out of control, with democracy in peril, ubiquitous conflicts and an overall outlook of doom. The reality is actually less war, hunger and illiteracy; fewer people die in natural disasters, more people live in democracies, an increased number of women serve on Parliaments, and life expectancy has increased.

Sagmeister has visualized data collected over 100 years and transformed these graphs, inlaid into 19th Century genre paintings, embroidered canvases, lenticular prints and hand painted water glasses – all of which will be for the first time on display at the gallery.