The Haas Brothers epitomize the increasingly blurred line between art and design. They fell into the forefront of my radar about a year ago at Design Miami/Basel when we bopped around together with mutual friends. I was head over heels for these talented twins, their Beasts, and their Accretion ceramics. These series, along with paintings and hex tile works, showcase a unique mastery of a wide range of materials including fur, highly technical resins, brass, bronze, and porcelain. While utterly stunning, the pieces always maintain a sense of humor with Beast titles like “Hairy Belafonte” and “Hairy J. Blige,” and a hex tile bench named “Goldie Hawn.” It is no surprise that the Haas Brothers are already enjoying their first American solo exhibition: Cool World.
This show at R & Company is based upon the ideal of California freedom. Though born in California, the Haas brothers were brought up in a creative family in Austin, Texas. Their father was a sculptor, their mother an opera singer, and their older brother an actor. In 2003, Simon went to RISD to study painting while Nickolai pursued his musical ambitions, touring with artists like Sean Lennon. The boys returned to Los Angeles in 2007 to tour with a band. They founded the Haas Brothers in 2010 when architects Johnston Marklee asked them to collaborate on a friend’s project. Their craftsmanship and artistic aptitude were immediately apparent. Since then, they have continued to examine concepts surrounding nature, science fiction, psychedelia, and color theory. In Cool World, the Haas Brothers present objects all driven by “the emotionally liberating idea that things are whatever we want them to be,” says Simon. Los Angeles culture offers the ability to merge fantasy and reality. Simon writes, “Our newest pieces offer a taste of the California utopia that we developed for ourselves.” Specifically, the exhibit’s title is a nod to the 1992 film by Ralph Bakshi. It includes never-before-seen Beasts in a dinner-party setting with animalistic hex tile lamps, their Advocates for the Sexual Outsider installation, Accretion ceramics, and paintings. The Haas Brothers are truly innovative artists you need to know now.
The Haas Brothers: Cool World
November 4, 2014-January 10, 2015
R & Company
82 Franklin Street
New York City