Art Basel’s offerings for Miami Beach 2022 have been bright and engaging, bringing together art lovers and the celebrity elite over entertainment and visual art spectacles. Following in a theme of whimsical takes on capitalist iconography, celebrated British artist Lucy Sparrow has stitched together a felt McDonald’s that she situated herself at throughout the art fair.
Lucy Sparrow is known for her endearing works of felt replication with delightfully kind faces. She’s contributed alongside the likes of other pop-culture powerhouses such as Banksy and Jamie Hewlett—creator of Tank Girl and the visual half of Gorillaz—and has shown off her unique intersection of art spheres through the likes of Imitation—where she recreated famous artworks in felt—and Sparrow Mart—where she stocked an entire LA supermarket with felted replicas of food products.
Now, Lucy Sparrow has turned her felting needle towards one of the most iconic designs she could possibly replicate in the form of the golden arches. Sparrow’s McDonald’s hones in on the vibrant ketchup reds and mustard yellows of the company’s advertising, their design unmistakable in this children’s show set rendition. The space is filled with felt drinks, fries, and applies pies—all with miniature smiling faces. Sparrow even donned a home-dyed uniform of the company as she staked out the space for the festival.
“This is based on my first memory of McDonald’s,” Sparrow stated of the piece. “My mom took me after we went to see the movie Beauty and the Beast when I was six. I’m a bit of a mega fan.” And the simple, homey quality of the work evokes that in full. While the mega-corporation is anything but cozy and comforting in modern adulthood, there is still such a prime connection between it and our childhoods. Its attachment to memory and simpler times makes for a perfect subject of Sparrow’s crossroads of modernism and folk art sensibilities.
Lucy Sparrow’s felt McDonald’s is a fitting piece for Art Basel 2022, and for 2022 in general. It points to both a sort of reimagined world of softer edges, one that sparks joy at smiling foodstuffs rather than guilt at $10 chicken nuggets. There’s a tinge of something intangible in it, almost like the world created is just holding back nightmares of the similarly crafted scenes of Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared. But on the mental surface, sometimes it’s just nice to have a snack that smiles back.