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Artist Lucy Sparrow’s Latest Creation Is a Felt Deli Pop-Up in New York City

By Sarah Buder

Oct 3, 2019

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Lucy Sparrow’s “Delicatessen on 6th” is open at New York City’s Rockefeller Center through October 20, 2019.

Photo by Heather Cromartie, courtesy of Art Production Fund

Lucy Sparrow’s “Delicatessen on 6th” is open at New York City’s Rockefeller Center through October 20, 2019.

The whimsical “deli” is fully stocked with 30,000 felt iterations of produce, meats, cheeses, and canned goods, all stitched by hand.

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When British artist Lucy Sparrow brought her first pop-up to the United States in 2017, the felt installation modeled after a New York City bodega sold out of its 9,000 handcrafted artworks in just over two weeks.

This month, the artist’s hugely popular felt installation series returns for a second time to New York City with Lucy Sparrow’s Delicatessen on 6th, open through October 20. The Manhattan “deli,” located at Rockefeller Center on the corner of 49th Street and Sixth Avenue, is stocked with 30,000 felt iterations of goods commonly found in the city’s famous fine food shops.

All hand-sewn items by Sparrow are available to purchase at the pop-up.

For Delicatessen on 6th, which marks Sparrow’s sixth large-scale installation, the artist has gone somewhat upscale compared to her previous felt pop-ups, among them a 2014 London “corner shop” stocked with canned beer and baked beans and a 2018 Los Angeles “supermarket” with convenience store items made from felt.

“It’s funny. Luxury food isn’t something I know much about because I’m not a foodie or anything like that,” Sparrow said in an interview with artnet News. “But New York is one of those cities where you’ve got these very high-end delis where food has become as much of an art as art.”

British artist Lucy Sparrow adorned each object with tiny eyes and smiles to encourage viewers to consider their relationship with food and consumerism.

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At the fine food emporium, hand-stitched items on display include organic kale, avocados, and spring onions in wooden crates; premium cuts of meat from a butcher station; special treats offered at a cheese counter and bakery; and fresh seafood creations such as red lobsters and even oysters that you can shuck. Each of the items—all made from fabric, of course—are available to purchase at the pop-up.

Beyond reflecting a more specific focus on fine foods, Sparrow’s pop-up food emporium features another first: All of the felt objects on display are adorned with tiny eyes and smiles. According to the artist, this new detail is intended to encourage viewers to examine their relationship with the food they purchase—whether or not that food is made of fabric.

The felt “deli” is stocked with 30,000 handcrafted artworks inspired by items commonly found in the city’s famous fine food shops.

Lucy Sparrow’s site-specific installation, presented in partnership with Art Production Fund, is open daily at Rockefeller Center from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m through October 20, 2019. 

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