By design

The Arts

December 2, 2019



SOCO Gallery’s new exhibition features the Haas Brothers, modern icons of the craft, design and contemporary art world.

by Caroline Portillo 

Whoever says furry, horned monsters can’t be chic has never seen a Haas Brothers original work of art. 

The crazy, out-there creations of twin brothers Simon and Nikolai (Niki) Haas have made them darlings of the craft, design and contemporary art world. Now, visitors to Chandra Johnson’s SOCO Gallery in the heart of Myers Park can get a firsthand glimpse at the fantasy-filled works. 

It’s the L.A.-based duo’s first exhibition in the Southeast since founding their studio in 2010, and it’s SOCO Gallery’s first exhibition dedicated to design. 

The Haas Brothers built a name for themselves by spurning traditional art-world boundaries and hierarchies, instead opting for playful creations that are nevertheless wonders of craftsmanship and creativity. Their list of celebrity clients and high-profile collaborations make for quite a calling card. Haas Brothers projects have ranged from gold-leafed furniture for Louis Vuitton stores to custom masks for Lady Gaga to limited-edition book stands for Rihanna’s new visual autobiography (some of which retailed for $75,000 each). 

The exhibition entitled I Saw Design, And Art Opened Up My Eyes, I Saw Design — a nod to the 1993 hit song “The Sign” by Ace of Base — will feature 20 new and never-before-seen works created by the Haas Brothers specifically for SOCO Gallery. The exhibition name is just one of the many cheeky aspects of the eponymous duo’s work. (Take, for example, the “Hairy Bradshaw,” a bestial chair with a name playing on Carrie Bradshaw, the narrator of HBO’s Sex and the City.)

Gallery director Hilary Burt says the Haas Brothers’ dedication to design and furniture-making is a fitting complement to North Carolina’s rich legacy of furniture design and textiles. “Creativity is at the forefront. It just feels right for our region,” Burt says. 

Plus, “They’re really fun and colorful characters. That helps.”  SP

Want to go? SOCO Gallery is located in at 421 Providence Road. I Saw Design, and Art Opened Up My Eyes, I Saw Design will be on view through Jan. 17. Details: soco-gallery.com

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