8 'Till Late
I was still in South America when I first heard about Lucy Sparrow's 8 'Till Late exhibition. Taking place in the Standard Hotel (under the High Line), 8 'Till Late is a replica New York bodega—where everything is made out of felt. There's a deli counter full of sausages, a meat slicer, a hot dog cart, ice cream, a freezer full of pizzas and nuggets, pizza by the slice, two felt cash registers, a soda case, cigarettes behind the counter and an ATM. The shelves are stocked with bodega staples—cereal, canned goods, candy, produce and toiletries—and everything in the store is for sale.
As soon as I read about the installation I knew I had to see it in person. Since opening in the beginning of June, it's been so popular that it was closed for restocking on Monday and Tuesday of last week. On Wednesday we tried to go after work only to find it closed early for a private party. On Thursday I tried again but was discouraged by the long line and decided to invoke my favorite New York hack and go as soon as they opened on Friday morning (no one does anything early in New York).
As the name suggests, the installation is open at 8am (until 8pm), and I saw a total of maybe five people in the half hour I spent browsing before work. One of which was the artist herself, and she was answering questions about her work in addition to working the (felt) cash register. I overheard her say that even with the restocking, the store was half the size as it was when it first opened. It closed again on Monday for yet another restock, and yesterday she announced on Instagram that today would be the last day for the installation (the original end date was June 30th). If you can't make it in person, or if you do and find that they're sold out of your favorite food, most of the items are also available online (and will start shipping in August).
Although done in a different medium, Sparrow's work reminds me a lot of Liza Lou's beaded Kitchen and Backyard. Lou's work had such an impact on me that when I was 16, I made a beaded portrait of Rosie O'Donnell (it was the early 2000s, she was popular!), which was so insane that it got me briefly mentioned on her show. I loved everything about the 8 'Till Late exhibition for the same reasons—it's silly and fun and impressive in its scope, scale and attention to detail. I knew I had to take a small piece of the bodega home with me, and after careful consideration I officially adopted a little smiling potato. As Sparrow was lovingly wrapping it for me she said "I hope it brings you joy!" and I replied, "Oh, it already has."
8 'Till Late
69 Little West 12th Street
New York, New York
(right across from Hector's diner, under the High Line)
Open 8am-8pm, last day is Wednesday June 21st