Over the last five years, Lucy Sparrow has set up shops in her native London, in Los Angeles, and (back in 2017) here in New York, a pop-up bodega called "8 'Till Late" located in the Standard, High Line. More accurately, it was a "fauxdega," as at all of her stores, every single item inside was an alternative, felt version of the expected thing.
Now Sparrow is back in town with an even more ambitious undertaking, the upscale food market "Delicatessen on 6th," located a block down from Radio City Music Hall and featuring some 30,000 individual works of art. There are bins of fruits and vegetables, a meat counter, a cheese counter, and a fish section, a bakery, some canned goods and condiments, and even a few bottles of booze. And if you've been paying attention, you already know what every single item here is made of. Yup: it's felt.
Sparrow will be out on the floor every day of the exhibition, and if you have the opportunity to chat with her for a bit you should take it. A self-described "control freak" who found the perfect therapeutic outlet for her manic energy in her art, Sparrow is wired, funny, intelligent, charming, and there to participate as a part of the installation.
Everything is for sale at "Delicatessen on 6th," and the prices may seem high if you're comparing these to factory-made plush toys. You'll pay $5 for a Tiny Prawn, for example, and $20 for a Red Velvet Macaron, $30 for a Banana, and $50 for a Rib-Eye Steak. But remember that every item here is hand sewn, and Sparrow signed each piece. All 30,000 of them. This is actual art, and for that, it's actually a bit of bargain.
Plus, like most of the other art you've ever seen in your life, you don't have to buy anything from Sparrow to appreciate her work. Go soon though to get the full effect of the installation; there were a lot of empty shelves toward the end of Sparrow's fauxdega run, and it completely sold out two days before it was scheduled to close. Sparrow also designed three vitrines in the lobby at 45 Rock Center, one with fish, one with birds, one with reptiles, and these are worth a look as well.
Lucy Sparrow's Delicatessen on 6th is located on Sixth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets, and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., through October 20th.