Welcome to Lucy Sparrow’s New L.A. Supermarket Made Entirely of Felt

Felt grocery items by Lucy Sparrow
Felt grocery items by Lucy Sparrow | © Lucy Sparrow
Photo of K Santos
3 August 2018

In a follow-up to her New York felt bodega installation, Lucy Sparrow’s new Sparrow Mart Supermarket makes its L.A. debut on August 1, 2018.

Downtown Los Angeles, the city’s creative nerve center for emerging artists and Instagram-worthy street displays, found a new tenant in artist Lucy Sparrow. Sparrow’s latest work is Sparrow Mart Supermarket—an art exhibit that features an entire grocery store made from felt.

The fully functional store, replete with felt-crafted foods, cashiers, and an ’80s-inspired VHS vision department, is Sparrow’s homage to grocery shopping in Los Angeles. It also mirrors her former exhibitions, 8 Till Late and Cornershop, which featured similar iterations of full-felt products in New York and London.

Situated at DTLA’s The Standard Hotel, Sparrow Mart Supermarket features “real” colorful corner shops and restored neon signs surrounding the installation. And every item—or artwork—is for sale.

Colorful and animated, Sparrow’s West Coast debut is similar to her past installations, but defined by her specific appreciation for the City of Angels and the realism of large-scale grocery stores. Like the Los Angeles superstore, her other installations found success in their take on real-life, local shopping experiences. The first—a felt-filled shop called Cornershop—took London’s East End by storm in 2014. Post-Cornershop, Sparrow experimented with other felt stores, including a controversial felt sex shop called Madame Roxy’s Erotic Emporium in London’s Soho district.

From sex shops to recreating Queen Elizabeth II’s jewelry collection, Sparrow’s work can be playful yet subversive. In the supermarket, you can expect to find felt meat packs and plushy cigarettes among other realistic household products.

The artist’s intricate and vibrant felt shops are perhaps the 21st century’s answer to Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans. These shops, which have sold out of items in the past installations, are accessible and uniting in spirit.

Her previous exhibition 8 Till Late in New York’s Meatpacking District (also installed in The Standard Hotel) opened in 2017 as an instant success, selling out nine days early with lines around the block. Her Los Angeles undertaking is destined to be a much bigger affair, measuring to four times larger than 8 Till Late.

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Sparrow herself lives in a felt cave in an undisclosed location and seems to have found a special home for her pop-up concept in Los Angeles, a city known for its colorful landscapes, love of food, and flashing lights. The installation, which runs from August 1st until the 31st, is open from 11 am to 9 pm (but closed on Mondays). It is located at The Paddle Room at The Standard at 550 S Flower Street in the heart of downtown.

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