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Museum of Arts and Design's MAD Ball 2019 to Honor the Hass Brothers with Visionaries! Award

Featuring announcement of 2019 Burke Prize winner for artist advancing studio craft

November 4, 2019


New York, NY (October 23, 2019)

On Monday, November 4, the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) will hold its annual MAD Ball gala, and honor The Haas Brothers with its Visionaries! Award for their contributions to the fields of art, craft, and design. In addition, the MAD Ball will feature the announcement of the winner of the Burke Prize, an unrestricted $50,000 award given to a professional artist working in traditional craft disciplines.

“We are thrilled to honor Simon and Nikolai, true innovators who are breaking down the boundaries between art and design,” said Chris Scoates, MAD’s Nanette L. Laitman Director. “The Haas Brothers’ inventive spirit makes them a perfect match for MAD’s appreciation for experimentation and innovation.”

MAD Ball 2019 also will mark the announcement of the winner of the Burke Prize, named after collectors Marian and Russell Burke. The annual award reinforces MAD’s commitment to celebrating the next generation of artists working in and advancing the disciplines that shaped the American studio craft movement. The juried prize is an unrestricted $50,000 award made to a professional artist age forty-five or under working in glass, fiber, clay, metal, or wood.

The jury pored over more than four hundred submissions, from which sixteen finalists were selected. The finalists’ works are featured in the exhibition Burke Prize 2019, on view at MAD until April 12, 2020.

This year’s gala host committee includes: Jonathan Adler, Iris Apfel, Sarah Arison, Paul Arnhold and Wes Gordon, Amy Astley, Marianne Boesky, Isolde Brielmaier, Nick CaveJerome A. Chazen, Chiara Clemente, Michele Cohen, Simon Doonan, Julia Haart, Michelle Hellman and Adam Cohen, Douglas Friedman,Sarah Hoover, Jane Keltner de Valle, Zesty Meyers, Linda Plattus, Andi Potamkin, Rodman Primack, Faith Ringgold, Nancy Rubins, Annabelle Selldorf,Courtney Smith, Evan Snyderman, Barbara Tober, Giancarlo Valle, Kelly Woods, and Elad Yifrach.

Among the notable guests expected to attend are: Sarah Arison, Oliver CleggGlenn Fuhrman, Jessica Joffe, Chandra and Jimmie JohnsonHein Koh, Tali Lennox, Serban Lonescu, Cipriana QuannLora Reynolds, Hilary Rhoda, Marlies Verhoeven, Gucci Westman, and TK Wonder.

Presented by FENDI, MAD Ball 2018 will take place on Monday, November 4, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. The evening begins at 6:30 pm with cocktails and a silent auction facilitated by Polina Proshkina. The night will continue with dinner and an awards presentation emceed by Pulitzer Prize winner Jerry Saltz at 7:30 pm along with a live auction appeal led by Gabriela Palmieri for MAD’s educational programming. The annual Visionaries! Award, designed by Kiki Smith, recognizes the Haas Brothers for their contributions to the fields of art, craft, and design. L’Objet celebrates the guests of honor providing centerpiece décor designed in collaboration with The Haas Brothers.

An online auction, facilitated by Artsy, will feature extraordinary works of art, jewelry, unique travel packages, design items, and more. Bidding will be live from October 21 through November 4 at

For questions about MAD Ball 2019, please contact Rebekka Grossman at 212.299.7712 or Tickets can be purchased at


The Haas Brothers, twins Nikolai and Simon (b. 1984), had a creative upbringing in Austin, Texas, where their opera singer mother, actor brother and sculptor father taught them to play music, write, sing and paint. Starting in their early teens, they studied stone carving under their father, mastering the craft before leaving home. The twins parted ways in 2003 to pursue their artistic goals individually. Simon studied painting at RISD while Nikolai toured as a musician. In 2007, the two reconvened in Los Angeles to tour with the band RRIICCEE, then founded The Haas Brothers there in 2010 when L.A. architects Johnston Marklee offered a chance to collaborate on a friend’s project. Early on, the brothers received accolades for their exceptional craftsmanship and expansive studio practice. The years since have seen them evolve from fabricators and collaborators to nimble cross-pollinators in creative disciplines including fashion, film, music, art and design.

In their current work, The Haas Brothers explore aesthetic and formal themes related to nature, science fiction, sexuality, psychedelia and color theory in prolific materials. Their mastery and uniquely clever use of materials ranging from brass, bronze, porcelain and fur to highly technical resins and polyurethane, matched with their insatiable curiosity and remarkable visual intelligence, sets them apart as designers.

In 2015, The Haas Brothers embarked on an extraordinary collaboration with women artisans in Cape Town, South Africa. The resulting series of intricately beaded functional and sculptural objects, ‘Afreaks’, was included in Beauty–Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, NY and at the San Jose Museum of Art in San Jose, CA. Their work is in the permanent collections of the RISD Museum in Providence, RI, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, NY, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, NY.

The Haas Brothers currently live and work in Los Angeles, California.


The Visionaries! Award honors leaders and innovators in the fields of art, design, philanthropy, and business, who through their work demonstrate foresight, imagination, and a commitment to supporting creativity in all its forms] Past honorees of MAD's Visionaries! Awards have included: Architects and Designers Ron Arad, Michael Aram, Michael Graves, Vladimir Kagan, Ligne Roset John Loring, Todd Oldham, Nadja Swarovski, Lella and Massimo Vignelli, Marcel Wanders;  Business Leaders Daniel L. Doctoroff; Jean-Louis Dumas, Martha Stewart, Burton M. TanksyArtists El Anatsui, Dale Chihuly, Ruth Duckworth, Sophie Grojsman, Sam Maloof, William Morris, Frank Stella, Lino Tagliapietra, Toshiko Takezu, Lenore Tawney, Peter Voulkos, David and Sybil Yurman, Eva Zeisel; Gallerists Linda Boone and Ferdinand Hampson, Garth Clark and Mark Del Vecchio, Helen W. Drutt English, Barry Friedman, Douglas and Michael Heller; and Patrons of the Arts Jerome Chazen, Ella Fontanals-Cisneros, Nanette L. Laitman, Henry Luce III, and Barbara Tober.


The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) champions contemporary makers across creative fields and presents the work of artists, designers, and artisans who apply the highest level of ingenuity and skill. Since the Museum’s founding in 1956 by philanthropist and visionary Aileen Osborn Webb, MAD has celebrated all facets of making and the creative processes by which materials are transformed, from traditional techniques to cutting-edge technologies. Today, the Museum’s curatorial program builds upon a rich history of exhibitions that emphasize a cross-disciplinary approach to art and design, and reveals the workmanship behind the objects and environments that shape our everyday lives. MAD provides an international platform for practitioners who are influencing the direction of cultural production and driving twenty-first-century innovation, and fosters a participatory setting for visitors to have direct encounters with skilled making and compelling works of art and design. For more information, visit

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