In Pictures: An L.A. Art and Design Platform Called Sized Makes Its New York Debut With a Knockout Group Show on ‘Industrialism’

Alexander May, the founder of the Los Angeles design platform, mixes works by Rick Owens and Robert Mapplethorpe with furniture and style objects.

Jan Dibbets's sumptuous car hood photo New Colorstudies—Red S3 (1976/2021) hangs above Jean Paul Barray's Hommage à Le Corbusier—Chandigarh (1965), and L.S. Gomma's Satellite Stools (2021). "The stools are by a young London designer and it's a happy accident they go perfectly with the table," Sized founder Alexander May says. Photo: Clemen Kois.

A monolithic arch made from bass speakers pulses and vibrates. It sounds like some otherworldly heartbeat but also like you’re waiting in line outside of a rave. Whether one sees it as a sinister techno-druid inter-dimensional portal or an innocuous assemblage of subwoofers depends on the beholder.

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

May is the 38-year-old founder and creative director of Sized, which has staged two previous exhibitions in Los Angeles. The New York show is on view until 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 with repurposed, graphite-colored upside-down Bolon flooring.

Kevin Stahl's 2019 sculpture "Transition".

Kevin Stahl’s 2019 sculpture Transition. Courtesy of the artist and Sized.

Using a broad array of disparate artworks, furniture, vehicles, and even bongs—a Mapplethorpe photo here, a limited-edition Lamborghini there—May has managed to put together a show that is cohesive and oddly moving. He balances out the raw and severe with some cozy and colorful moments. On a surface level, it also looks like the zenith of modern goth-tinged bachelor pads.

Judging by the roster, 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). A room is devoted to Aybar’s lamps, compelling conglomerations of scavenged construction debris and cast rubber.

One of May’s own chairs is also featured in the show, and before he embarked on becoming a design guru, he was a painter. “You used to have to pick a lane,” May says. “I’m interested in the ingenuity of the maker and that need to create.” May took us on a tour of “Industrialism” on its opening day. See photos of the exhibition below.

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

Robert Mapplethorpe's "Torso (Donald Cann), (1982) hangs above Alexander May's plywood SIZED Box Chair. Photo by Clemens Kois.

Robert Mapplethorpe’s Torso (Donald Cann), (1982) hangs above Alexander May’s plywood SIZED Box Chair. “If you flip it over, it becomes a coffee table. Flip it over one more time, it’s a book shelf.” Photo: Clemens Kois.

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

“Michele Lamy is a close friend and collaborator. We’re developing an exhibition  opening in September in L.A.,” May says. “This headpiece was worn by a model in her last runway show.” Rick Owens, Amun Helmut Lamp (2022). Photo: Clemens Kois.

Flavie Audi's "Hugging rock 1," 2021. Courtesy of the artist and SIZED.

“We’re all familiar with weird glass sculpture which isn’t the most exciting. But [Beirut-born London-based] Flavie Audi does something unique, creating her own solar systems,” May says. “The way the colors talk 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 remnants from an upstate renovation, mixed in with the history of rubber. “There is such a pervasive folksy moment in the design field, but what Aybar’s doing feels really fresh,” May says. The works are “also about how petroleum relates to the body, sex, toys, and industry.” Photo: Clemens Kois.

Chris Wolson's 2018 aluminum "Body Chair". Photo by Clemen Kois.

Chris Wolson’s 2018 aluminum Body Chair “is actually built from all of these individual pieces,” May says. “He also does a lot of work with wicker.” Photo: Clemen Kois.

Julia Thompson's 2022 nonsovereignty" sculptures. Photo by Clemens Kois.

“When I first saw Julia Thompson’s nonsovereignty sculptures (2022), they really struck me,” May says. She is a very young LA-based artist. I really believe in emerging talent being in the same room with established work.” Photo: Clemens Kois.

Maria Sparre-Petersen's serene 2021 recycled glass "Oval Centerpiece" contrasts with Matt Mullican's 2016 "Untitled (Locomotive). Photo by Clemens Kois.

Maria Sparre-Petersen’s serene recycled glass Oval Centerpiece (2021) contrasts with Matt Mullican’s Untitled (Locomotive) (2016). Photo: Clemens Kois.

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