A new series of sculptures by Lucy Sparrow in Rockefeller Center is almost tasty enough to eat.
Premiering to the public tomorrow, "Lucy Sparrow’s Delicatessen on 6th" lets you wander through bright deli counters. Just don't come hungry, or you'll definitely be disappointed by the lack of anything edible. The artist has come to be known for her painstakingly detailed installations of food sculptures made entirely out of felt.
Back in 2017, crowds gathered for Sparrow's immersive, felt bodega (aka a fauxdega) called "8 'Till Late" at the Standard Hotel on the Highline. Aisles of felt salami, candied yams, Doritos and hot sauces were on the shelves as if it were really a supermarket. The bodega project then toured to Los Angeles, and this new installation is Sparrow's first return to New York since.
For her latest project, the British artist and her diligent team have created a incredibly fun interactive piece, opening tomorrow on the corner of 49th Street and 6th Avenue (right next to Magnolia Bakery.) Entrance is free to the exhibition, which will run in the space until October 20th, but individual felt pieces are for sale, with most hovering around a $40 price point.
The space is meant to resemble upscale delis in New York City, looking to Dean & Deluca and Eataly as points of inspiration. Booths are overflowing with joyful felt sculptures of fish, cheese, chocolates and fruit, each sentient with little faces, as if the deli comes alive at night when no one is watching. Some of our favorites include the swiss cheese, asparagus and fruit tarts. Pick up your own grocery basket to shop along.
It's a perfect time for an art installation like this, as the city has lost many of its Dean & Deluca locations—which some might say were the original food museums displaying gorgeous produce. Of course, Dean & Deluca has been in the news a lot as of late. Years of unpaid invoices to their vendors has caused the company to shutter all of its stores with just one now remaining in Manhattan. In some ways, Sparrow's works function as an archive for the fancy markets of yesteryear.
Unrelated to the food art at Delicatessen on 6th, Sparrow will also have work sprinkled throughout secret corners of Rockefeller Center throughout the run of the show such as felt recreations of aquariums and terrariums. It seems perfect for a scavenger hunt: Bonus points to whoever finds the felt iguana.
Sparrow's installation is part of Rockefeller Center's "Art in Focus" series, following similarly immersive installations commissioned for the project by Art Production Fund, including Joana Avillez, Hein Koh and Portia Munson.