For the past two years, Los Angeles-based artists Nikolai and Simon Haas have been experimenting with the idea of a Californian utopia. Now, with Cool World, their first stateside solo exhibition at R & Company, the twin brothers’ unabashedly sexual and bizarrely sweet universe comes to life in the forms of gleaming bronze, ebony horns, and furry faces. Highlights from their trippy exhibition include Hairy J. Blige, a fluffy fainting couch whose bronze vagina peeks out from beneath a sheepskin coat; Animal Party, a cartoonish black-light jungle wallpaper featuring depictions of creatures with bulging, glow-in-the-dark eyes acting out nature’s most lewd shenanigans; and California Freedom, the Haas brothers’ new collaborative painting series. “He starts the canvas, he makes the shape and the outlines, and then I go in and render them,” explains Simon. “So all of a sudden I am dealing with his cartoons while trying to maintain their energy. They are meant to feel like a portal into our reality.”
Also included in the exhibition is an actual portal—in the form of a sex cave—titled “Advocates of a Sexual Outsider,” an installation that debuted at Design Miami. Framed by leather vagina lips, the collection of touchable interpretations of the male and female form creates a sexually positive environment. “We see it as an extension of innocence, not the end of innocence,” explains Nikolai, picking up one of the ebony sex toys their dad carved for the cave. “The whole point of being an artist is to work in a language where you can speak to a lot of people at the same time. A piece of work is so temporary, but the ideas are not.”
“Cool World” is on view until January 10th at R & Company, 82 Franklin Street, New York, 212.343.7979.
Photos: California Dreaming
Hairy J. Blige double-hump bench from the Beast series. Photograph by Joe Kramm/R& Company.
Accretion vases and hexatile table. Photograph by Joe Kramm/R& Company.
Sir Hiss Hex floor lamp in brass tiles. Photograph by Joe Kramm/R& Company.
Joshua Free, 2014. Photograph by Joe Kramm/R& Company.
Advocates for the Sexual Outsider room installation, 2014. Photos courtesy of R & Company.
Mini Beast. Photograph by Joe Kramm/R& Company.