The Haas Brothers

'Beast in Show'

Through meticulous craftsmanship in myriad materials, twin brothers Nikolai and Simon Haas create irreverent sculptures that explore themes like nature, fantasy, and sexuality. Their anthropomorphic works defy categorization, most often occupying the space between fine art and functional objects. Utilizing techniques and media like stone carving, metal casting, ceramics, and beading, the brothers first came to prominence with their furniture designs and home decor, and have since expanded their practice to sculpture and public art. Informed by their creative upbringing and individual artistic pursuits, the Haas Brothers began collaborating in 2010, bringing their respective passions and distinct specialties together to create works that are “bigger than what each would have made on his own.” The brothers, raised by a sculptor father and opera singer mother, originally studied stone carving. Simon went on to pursue painting and Nikolai toured as a musician before they convened in Los Angeles and began their eponymous brand.

Signature image for Haas Brothers exhibition
The Haas Brothers, “Snailor Moon” (left) and “Snail Earnhardt Jr.” (right), 2020, walnut, fur, and glass, 117 x 24 x 24 in. and 133 x 22 x 27 in. Courtesy of the artists. Photo by Tim Hans.

In Beast in Show, the Haas Brothers present recent “beast” sculptures ranging in scale from the hand-held to the larger-than-life. These fantastical creatures are an ongoing body of work and are born of earlier biomorphic furniture designs that incorporated shag fur and animalistic feet. Based in an exploration of the emotional states of humans, the beasts are a varied species of distinct personalities and identities, with diverse genders and sexualities. Composed of natural fur from a variety of animals paired with cast bronze or carved wood, the beasts typically only possess legs and horns, leaving viewers to infer personality from gesture and form rather than facial features. With titles like Snail Earnhardt Jr. and Shaggy Gyllenhaal, the beasts are charming, odd, whimsical, and humorous, reflective of the artists’ spirited approach to art making.

About the artist

Twins Nikolai and Simon Haas (b. 1984, Austin, Texas) founded the Haas Brothers in Los Angeles in 2010. Early on, the brothers received accolades for their exceptional craftsmanship but have since evolved from fabricators and collaborators to nimble cross-pollinators in creative disciplines including fashion, film, art, and design. In their current works, the Haas Brothers explore aesthetic themes related to nature, science fiction, sexuality, and psychedelia. Their mastery and uniquely clever use of materials, ranging from brass, porcelain, and fur to highly technical resins and polyurethane, sets them apart as designers. In 2015, the Haas Brothers embarked on an extraordinary collaboration with women artisans in Cape Town, South Africa. The resulting series of intricately beaded sculptural objects, Afreaks, was included in Beauty at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, and at the San Jose Museum of Art, California. In December 2018, the Haas Brothers’ solo exhibition Ferngully opened at The Bass Museum in Miami, Florida. Their work is held in the permanent collections of the RISD Museum in Providence, Rhode Island; the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The Haas Brothers live and work in Los Angeles. They are represented by Marianne Boesky Gallery.

Credits

The Haas Brothers: Beast in Show is curated by Ben Tollefson, associate curator. It is presented as part of SCAD deFINE ART 2021, the university’s annual program of exhibitions, lectures, and performances, held virtually Feb. 23–25 with select events in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia.

Museum Admission

The exhibition is free for museum members and SCAD students, faculty, and staff with a valid SCAD Card. Open to the public with the cost of museum admission.

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