In Tampa, Lucy Sparrow feels her most ambitious setup yet

Two years in the making, Lucy Sparrow today unveiled her most intricate exhibit yet – a fully hushed supermarket, stocked with every sculptural grocery store one could need. With over 50,000 items, each individually designed and autographed by Sparrow herself, the new “Tampa Fresh Foods” facility in Tampa, Florida opens today for art buyers. This immersive exhibition is a kaleidoscopic, interactive and breathtaking experience for children and adults alike.

Photograph by BFA, courtesy of Art Production Fund.

Originally from the UK, Sparrow launched her career in London and quickly made waves in the art world in 2014 when she created the installation ‘Cornershop’ – a small traditional English shop stocked with shop wares general true to life made entirely of felt. . It was just the beginning. Soon after, she had her first US exhibition at SCOPE Miami Beach Art Fair 2015, which launched her art into the market. Over the next few years, Sparrow continued to manufacture a variety of felt environments in global hotspots such as Montreal, Los Angeles, Beijing and New York. His imaginary countries constantly simulated everyday environments like supermarkets, bodegas, pharmacies and delicatessens. His exhibits are not just sensory experiences, but serve as social commentary on pressing issues: access to health care, the importance of mental health, gentrification, and gun control.

“Tampa Fresh Foods” is Sparrow’s latest and greatest work, which took two years to design and two weeks to install. It is strategically located on Water Street near some of Tampa’s finest restaurants, live music venues, and ocean views. The installation is presented by the Vinik Family Foundation in partnership with the Art Production Fund, a non-profit organization that commissions projects that bring humanity together and expand public knowledge of contemporary art.

Photograph by BFA, courtesy of Art Production Fund.

The “Tampa Fresh Foods” supermarket has an impressive produce aisle with every fruit and vegetable imaginable – limes, green beans, carrots, bananas, watermelons, potatoes and more. Plus, there’s a seafood counter, a take-out section with packaged sushi, a deli section, ATMs, and checkouts that even have automatic belts, all made of felt. Lucy explains that she uses felt as a medium because it’s a “leveller of who can buy art, who’s supposed to buy art, and who comes to see the art.”

Photograph by BFA, courtesy of Art Production Fund.

The exhibition is a daily errand turned artistic getaway, and unlike traditional artistic settings, it is meant to be touched and explored. All felt sculpture items are arranged on racks, shelves, bins and freezers where visitors can pick up and choose which ones they wish to purchase and bring them to the checkout. As a loving acknowledgment of the facility’s Florida context, the place where its felt shop facilities began in the United States, Sparrow includes Florida specialties including citrus fruits, tropical fruits, local seafood, state beer, Cuban bread and cigars, all intentionally displayed in a cigar humidor. room to give the audience the most authentic experience.

Photograph by BFA, courtesy of Art Production Fund.

There will be a limited number of guests permitted to enter the market at a time in order to adhere to COVID-19 protocols and public safety. Making a special appearance, Sparrow also said she would be there every day of the show, making the experience of going to the grocery store even more exhilarating.

Hear directly from the artist talk about “Tampa Fresh Foods” on Cultured’s Instagram.

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