In Pictures: An LA art and design platform called Sized makes its NYC debut with a knockout group show about ‘industrialism’

A monolithic arch made of woofers pulsates and vibrates. It feels like an otherworldly heartbeat, but also like you’re queuing outside a rave. Whether one sees a sinister techno-druid interdimensional portal or a harmless assembly of subwoofers depends on who is looking.

Kevin Stahl’s nine-foot-tall sculpture in 2019, Passage, is just one of the disconcerting – and disconcertingly beautiful – pieces in “Industrialism,” a blockbuster New York group show by Los Angeles-based design and arts platform Sized. “It hits you in this really hypnotic way,” says curator Alexander May. “It also sets the tone for the whole room.”

May is the 38-year-old founder and creative director of Sized, who has already curated two exhibitions in Los Angeles. The New York show is on view through May 28 at Donna Karan’s West Village Urban Zen space (the former studio of her late husband, sculptor Stephan Weiss). May has had most of the walls painted black, and the floors on both levels are covered in graphite-colored Bolon reverse flooring.

Sculpture 2019 by Kevin Stahl Passage. Courtesy of the artist and Sized.

Using a wide range of disparate artwork, furniture, vehicles and even bangs – a photo of Mapplethorpe here, a limited-edition Lamborghini there – May has managed to put together a cohesive and eerily moving. It balances the raw and the severe with cozy and colorful moments. At the surface level, it also resembles the zenith of modern Gothic-tinged bachelor pads.

Judging by the list, May appreciates those who moonlight in design or pivot their creativity into another sphere. There is a clear fashion overlap with contributions from Jonathan Saunders, Rick Owens, Mugler’s Casey Cadwallader and Rich Aybar (a stylist who has been affiliated with both Owens and Hood by Air). One room is devoted to Aybar’s lamps, fascinating conglomerates of salvaged construction debris and cast rubber.

One of May’s own chairs is also featured in the exhibit, and before becoming a design guru he was a painter. “Before, you had to pick a path,” May says. “I’m interested in the ingenuity of the manufacturer and what need create.” May gave us a tour of “industrialism” on the day it opened. See photos from the exhibit below.

Industrialism is on view through May 28, 2022 at Urban Zen, 711 Greenwich Street, New York.

by Robert Mapplethorpe

by Robert Mapplethorpe Torso (Donald Cann)(1982) hangs above Alexander May’s plywood Box chair SIZED. “If you turn it over, it becomes a coffee table. Flip it over once more, it’s a bookshelf. Photo: Clemens Kois.

Rick Owens, Amun Helmut Lamp, (2022).  Photo by Clemens Kois.

“Michèle Lamy is a close friend and collaborator. We are preparing for an exhibition opening in September in Los Angeles,” says May. “This helmet was worn by a model in her last fashion show.” Rick Owens, Lamp Amon Helmut (2022). Photo: Clemens Kois.

At Flavie Audi "Embracing Rock 1," 2021. Courtesy of the artist and SIZED.

“We all know the weird glass sculpture that isn’t the most exciting. But [Beirut-born London-based] Flavie Audi is doing something unique, creating its own solar systems,” says May. “The way the colors speak to each other really makes sense.” Flavie Audi, hugging rock 1 (2021). Courtesy of the artist and Sized.

Rich Aybar's lamps.  Photo by Clemens Kois.

Rich Aybar’s lamps were born from the remnants of an upstate renovation, entwined with rubber history. “There’s such a pervasive folkloric moment in design, but what Aybar is doing is really new,” says May. The works are “also about the relationship between oil and the body, sex, toys and industry”. Photo: Clemens Kois.

Aluminum 2018 by Chris Wolson "body chair".  Photo by Clemen Kois.

Aluminum 2018 by Chris Wolson body chair “is actually constructed from all of these individual parts,” May says. “He also does a lot of work with wicker.” Photo: Clemen Kois.

The non-sovereignty of Julia Thompson in 2022" sculptures.  Photo by Clemens Kois.

“When I first saw Julia Thompson non-sovereignty sculptures (2022), they really struck me,” says May. She is a very young artist based in Los Angeles. I truly believe that emerging talent is in the same room as established work. Photo: Clemens Kois.

The serene 2021 recycled glass by Maria Sparre-Petersen

The serene recycled glass of Maria Sparre-Petersen oval centerpiece (2021) contrasts with that of Matt Mullican Untitled (Locomotive) (2016). Photo: Clemens Kois.

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