The Haas Brothers, Niki and Simon, hailing from Los Angeles by way of Austin, Texas, are the bad boys of the current art scene. With a focus on fantasy and fabrication, the Haas’ product comes from a world of imagination filled with strange animals and objects. An assemblage of materials generally considered too gaudy or bizarre for most tastes, the Bros’ work was toasted at Art Basel Miami and is now represented by Marianne Boesky.
Recently the Haas Brothers collaborated with L’Objet to present a series of dinnerware (!) and functional objects available to the general marketplace as multiples, rather than their generally unique objects. The collection tells a loose story of inhabitants and visuals representative of the Mojave Desert, a unique biome located a few hundred miles east of Los Angeles. The Mojave has long been a source of inspiration with its plethora of anthropomorphic Joshua Trees and legends surrounding it such as the death and attempted burial of Gram Parsons (look it up or watch the movie).
The project is brilliant on a number of levels; this brilliance is primarily due to the collaboration with Elad Yifrach of L’Objet. L’Objet is a Texas-based company that up until recently focused on the utilization of traditional French porcelain manufacturing with an update in both design and appearance. In recent years Yifrach has continued his focus on updating excellent design from the past, most notably (and with incredible results), the Fortuny company- an Italian fashion house that reached its pinnacle in the first half of the twentieth century- now immortalized on dinnerware and decorative objects.
Much like the anti-design movements such as Memphis and Droog design, the Haas Collaboration thumbs its nose at the dead and dying dinnerware industry that places emphasis on dated elegance rather than timely enjoyment. Gold accents in the pieces provide a sense of luxury on a base of absurdism. Friendly (?) monsters spew aromatic incense or spit your coffee into your favorite cup. Furthermore, even the lowest of the functional pieces, the vide poche (where you unceremoniously dump your pockets’ contents) is designed for display rather than mere private function on your dresser.
Truth is the primary focal points of the art scene have been boring. Why not just have an auction to sell new art? My, how exciting. Money doesn’t make it great art and gloating was never considered an art form. The best thing to ever happen to a million dollar Lockheed Lounge was the graffiti placed upon one at the Paramount (Thank You, Mr. Starck). Great artists always have plateaus interspersed with parabolic growth. The Haas Brothers, like Yifrach, have just begun to develop their oeuvre. Here you have functional artwork to use daily. Look, Laugh, Enjoy. And wait for their next Muse to arrive.