Artist recreates New York City grocery store using felt
The hot dogs in this New York City bodega may feel a little soft and squishy. But don't worry. It's not a health hazard. It's art.
A British artist has recreated the contents of a city bodega. It is made entirely in felt. That is the soft material usually favored by the school-going set.
Lucy Sparrow's "8 Till Late" opened to the public. It is in a 1,200-square-foot space. It is at The Standard hotel. That is on Manhattan's west side. It runs through June 30.
Sparrow handmade the 9,000 items in the installation. The items cover nearly everything you might find in the small stores that are well-known in New York City.
There are felt jars of peanut butter and jelly. There are also packages of white bread. There are pizza slices and pretzels. Those are on the felt grill along with the felt hot dogs. And there are felt boxes of detergent. A felt fridge is filled with felt ice cream.
The artist has been working in felt for years. She says the material "evokes nostalgia with people."
The New York City exhibit follows a similar one Sparrow created. It was in London. That one was called "The Cornershop."
The point of both, she said, was to start a dialogue about what is lost when small mom-and-pop stores like bodegas fade away. They are often replaced with chain stores.
"A sense of community is being lost when these places disappear," she said.
Sparrow said it took several months to make all the items. She worked for 16 hours every day toward the end of her production period. Among her favorite items in the shop are the sausages and other products in the meat case. All of them have eyes and faces.
"It's very cute but sort of gruesome at the same time," she said. She of course included that mainstay of the bodegas. It is the bodega cat. It can usually be seen lolling on a pallet of cans or strolling through the aisles.
"I had at least 20 people say to me that having a bodega cat was probably the most important thing about this installation," Sparrow said. "So I had to get that right."