This Year, the Haas Brothers Turn 40. They’re Celebrating With Their Biggest Show Yet—and a Texan Homecoming

Simon and Nikolai Haas. Photography by Ian Flanigan. Image courtesy of the artists.

As kids growing up in Texas, Nikolai and Simon Haas made regular pilgrimages to Dallas’s Nasher Sculpture Center, which Nikolai considered “the pinnacle of art.”

It’s a full circle moment, then, that the brothers’ most significant exhibition yet has found a home there. Shepherded into existence by curator Brooke Hodge, “Moonlight” opens tomorrow, just a few months shy of the pair’s 40th birthday. The show marks 15 years of collaboration between the siblings, a journey that has taken them from making custom furniture for Tobey Maguire, to cementing their star status at the intersection of art and design with a slew of collaborations and appearances in collections and institutions around the world.

The Haas Brothers, Moon Towers, 2023. Photography by Charles White. Image courtesy of the artists and Jeffery Deitch Gallery.

The story of one of the central elements of “Moonlight,” The Strawberry Tree, 2023, begins at a design fair in Cape Town, where the brothers met the women of Monkeybiz, a South African beading collective whose techniques were adapted to produce the 14-foot-tall tree’s leaves.

Indeed, every aspect of the sculpture is the result of a significant encounter—the illuminated glass-blown strawberries emerged from an epiphany at Pilchuck Glass School, and the stone base symbolizes their long-term collaborations with Portuguese carvers Antonio Moreira and Zira Antunes.

Haas Brothers, Strawberry Tree and Hole Enchilada (Installation View). Photography by Adrienne Lichliter-Hines. Image courtesy of the artists and Nasher Sculpture Center.

Nikolai and Simon estimate that 50 people contributed to the making of The Strawberry Tree. This it-takes-a-village approach is at the crux of their practice. “The ultimate function of craft is community, right?” reasons Nikolai. Facile logic would see their penchant for groupthink as an innate twin characteristic, but Simon describes it more philosophically as an act of letting go.

“The whole thing is about finding the path of least resistance,” adds Nikolai, “letting [the work] aggregate and find its own platform.” With “Moonlight” and a concurrent show at Marianne Boesky, focused on their paintings and bronzes, the brothers are well on their way to a flow state.

"Moonlight" is on view through August 25, 2024 at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas.