Art installation warns against the demise of the corner store

Artist Lucy Sparrow in her felted convenience store. Image: Associated Press/Richard Drew

A store in New York has been taken over by an entire range of felted products in a bid to warn people about the loss of community spaces.

British artist Lucy Sparrow said: “I want the work to make people think about the loss of community spaces when these small corner shops disappear; to remind them how valuable these corner shops really are and the colour they bring to our lives.”

Known in New York as slang for convenience store, the ‘Bodega’ titled ‘8 ‘Till Late’ is an art installation created by Ms Sparrow.

The fully stocked convenience store invites customers to browse the aisles and purchase felted versions of convenience store favourites including foods and other goods.

Ms Sparrow said the work is supposed to be an all-encompassing and ultra-sensory experience.

“My work is so much about nostalgia and creating and emotional response to artworks,” she said.

“So often you will go around to art galleries and it’s quite sterile.”

Sew Your Soul website contributor Harry Starling said the exhibition was a felt convenience store that opened on June 5th and would run until the end of June.

“8 Till Late will transform a 1200-square-foot space off The Standard, High Line’s Biergarten on Little West 12th Street into a fully stocked felt convenience store, unleashing the playful, parallel universe of one of the UK’s most exciting artists on New York City’s Meatpacking District,” he said.

“Felt fittings, freezers and fixtures will overflow with every product you would expect to find in a classic Manhattan bodega—from candy to cereal, frozen pizza to Band-Aids—all hand-stitched in the inimitable Lucy Sparrow style.

“In addition to serving as a colourful distraction from the daily grind, 8 Till Late is intended to make a comment on the demise of the neighbourhood corner store, as main streets around the world become homogenized replicas, and celebrate the sense of community inherent in the local independent store.”

Ms Sparrow’s art installation took over six months to research and nine months to create; she said she was excited to bring the felt to the USA.

“Creating all of these iconic American brands has been brilliant and I can’t wait to see the reaction from local people on seeing a felt world full of their favourite treats and hangover cures,” she said.


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