The Haas Brothers Show Us the art that influenced them most For Their New Exhibition

by Flaunt Intern

We've long loved the Haas brothers, so much so that we had them design the cover for our behemoth Califuk Issue a couple years back. So when we heard that UTA Artist Space was hosting the first-ever large scale solo art exhibition from our favorite multifaceted sculptors, designers, craftsmen, and artists, we knew we'd have to swing through. Titled Haas Angeles, the show will be the biggest exhibition put together by twin brothers Nikolai and Simon Haas yet, and commemorates the one-year anniversary of UTA Artist Space in Los Angeles. Haas Angeles highlights the finest pieces of the brothers’ careers, with work that exemplifies their interest in sexuality, color theory, and psychedelia, and their ability to execute their irreverently lovely vision with a creative use with multiple alternative materials—including brass, bronze, porcelain, buffalo fur, and epoxy clay.

Haas Angeles is open from September 9–October 14, 2017. We had the brothers show us a few of the pieces that have influenced them the most during their show, and their response was as unique, interesting, and insightful as their work:

SIMON HAAS

Chris Ofili, Shithead, 1993

Chris Ofili, Shithead, 1993

This piece hit me so hard when I saw it. I burst out laughing because of the name, but understood it was made of dung and human teeth and hair. It is a visual pun that I think is so damn smart. The name and the form turn a collection of materials that individually would be a little revolting into a rich and relatable little visual poem. One of the richest pieces of art I’ve ever seen.

David Hockney, Artist and Model, 1974

David Hockney, Artist and Model, 1974

I first saw this drawing in Hockney’s book. I was struck by the intimacy of the moment depicted - an homage to an idol that depicts a longing and an innocent infatuation with his hero. The little palm tree in the window is such a sweet way to depict an erection - Hockney’s hand reaching across the table shows passion and restraint. It is the most intimate self portrait I’ve ever seen. In high school I drew my own version of this in which Hockney replaced Picasso and I was the nude reading across the table. It remains my favorite image of all time. 

Felix Gonzalez-Torrea, Untitled, 1991

Felix Gonzalez-Torrea, Untitled, 1991

I first saw this image in a slide lecture when I was studying painting at RISD. It was the first time an image made me cry. It is so personal but so relatable. A moment that usually goes unnoticed and is taken for granted takes on a devastating meaning when the viewer learns that Gonzalez-Torres’ partner had died of AIDS. It is the artist capturing an imprint of deep love, showing unfathomable loss. When the bed is made, his partner’s presence there will be gone forever — so tender, so fleeting, so sad, so poignant, so quiet and so loud. I love this picture.

Nikolai Haas

Nikolai Haas x Flaunt Cy Twombly, Say Goodby Catullus, to the shores of Asia Minor, 2017

Nikolai Haas x Flaunt Cy Twombly, Say Goodby Catullus, to the shores of Asia Minor, 2017

I first saw this painting when I was 12 years old. It's in the amazing Menil Collection in Houston - they have an entire building dedicated to the works of Cy Twombly. My parents would sometimes take us on the drive from Austin to Houston to pay homage to great works of art. I had just met my brother's good friend Vincent Gallo; he told me about Twombly, and how important he was to the art world. I remember standing in front of this painting vividly: the colors and the scale were just so beautiful. I don't think I knew what abstract art was, but this was definitely the first time I understood abstract art, or at least understood it's impact through my own experience of it.

Philip Guston, Line

Philip Guston, Line

I was probably in my twenties when I saw this painting. I don't remember where. I didn't really care about art yet, outside of just enjoying being around it or occasionally going to museums, but this painting struck me. I think at the time I interpreted it as poking a little fun at religion, a sort of harmless joke. Now I think Guston was giving thanks and paying homage to his privilege of getting to be an artist. Or maybe, even more basically, just appreciating that he has ability to create a line, and that in a sense, this is his connection to spirituality. I suppose I really have no idea what he was saying, but I like hands and their ability to convey the attitude or emotion of the person they are attached to, even in that person's absence. This painting says something to me, whether intentional or not. I believe that ultimately, over time, both an individual and group’s reaction and interaction with an artwork is what truly define’s that piece.

Niki de st Phalle, ho-en-katedral

Niki de st Phalle, ho-en-katedral

What a genius! Niki de st phalle.. I'm in love with her humor, her complete lack of inhibition and her absolute joy in her work. I first saw this piece in photographs when I was very young. I thought it was funny and looked fun. Now I appreciate it as a gift to the world, as something truly important, human and genius.


Written by Alex Ceballos