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PaperCity May 2024 Dallas

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HOUSTON ENDING — PLEASE LEAVE IN OVERRUN: "Haas Brothers: Moonlight," May 11 – August 25, at Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, CA: Where did the beads come from for The Strawberry Tree? Niki: We got them from a defunct factory in Murano that went out of business in 1982. We had to go into this factory with vines growing through it and puddles of water everywhere, and tarantulas and scorpions, and find these wooden boxes — the fact that they're in wood boxes means they're probably turn-of-the-century. We don't know the exact age. But the factory had been in business since the early 1800s. CA: On The Strawberry Tree after dark. Niki: We put it in front of the museum, where there's a wall of open glass, because w e w a n t e d everyone to be able to continuously experience it. And it's illuminated. I think the best experience will probably be at n i g h t t h r o u g h the window for someone that just happens to be walking by. CA: Plans for your surreal Zoids, which will grace the back garden. Niki: Those are interesting works because they're the shapes that we call Zoidbergs. Simon created digital sculpture, like skeletons with skin on top. These forms can be thrown into physical simulations that can interact with each other. We're taking them and slamming them against each other, putting them on a turntable and spinning them superfast and just seeing what happens. And picking a moment that we think is poignant. It's taking the final expression out of our hands, because we're talking about the fact that the viewer, in the context of artwork, is in fact projecting themselves upon the art. That is the value in art, when someone has their own experience with it and takes their own value out of the work. We don't have any emotional motivation making the work, and the abstract value and the perception of the work is emergent. We have an eight-foot Emergent Zoidberg. Because the form itself is emergent, then the value itself is emergent to the viewer. Those are going to be in bronze in the back garden, with handblown glass and electrified. CA: About your final body of work for the Nasher: Moon Towers, which stand guard outside the museum entrance. Niki: They're based on moon towers in Austin. Do you know the story? CA: Just that they're from another era and very archaic and fascinating. Simon: There are only six of them left in Austin. Basically, they make perfect moonlight. We grew up half a block away from one. So, we wanted to make our homage to the moon tower. We have a couple installed in Los Angeles as public works. We have some publicly installed in China. Then Jeffrey Deitch showed a group of them in his L.A. gallery, but the ones for Nasher get a special patina. The exact ones that are going to Nasher have not been seen before. I believe those will be there for longer than the duration of the show, which is exciting for us. CA: On your Austin roots. Which neighborhood did you grew up in? Niki: Clarksville. 12th and Blanco, that was our corner. You could see the Capitol building from our hill. Swede Hill is down the road. Simon: Lora Reynolds gallery is down the road too, which is cool. CA: While we're talking Texas, what was it like growing up in Austin? Were your parents creative? Simon: Our mom, Emily Tracy, was a screenwriter, and our dad, Berthold Haas, was a stone carver. He's also a sculptor and painter. We worked with him as kids doing stone carving. Texas has a lot of limestone. In various houses in Austin, you'll find something that we carved architecturally, but I don't remember all of the spots. Niki: Our mom wrote for Seinfeld and The Cosby Show. She was an opera singer as well and sang for the Santa Fe Opera. Our older brother, Lukas Haas, is an actor. So, our household was super eclectic hippie. A very Austinite family, but to the max, in terms of the art around us. Everyone was playing music all the time. We were brought up to think creative. We had to learn how to balance a checkbook later in life, but we figured it out. CA: You can't make up a better family tree, informed by the idea of working with the hand. Niki: Construction is our most fluent language when it comes to expressing ourselves. That comes out in sculpting and material development. But, really, the meat of our job is storytelling. It's about creating fantasy and space for somebody to dive into on their own. " H a a s B r o t h e r s : M o o n l i g h t ," May 11 – August 25, at Nasher Sculpture Center, More with The Haas Brothers at "The scale of what the Nasher has let us do is bigger than we've ever done." — Simon Haas The Haas Brothers' Moon Towers, 2023, at Jeffrey Deitch CHARLES WHITE, COURTESY THE ARTIST AND JEFFREY DEITCH

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