All American Creation

“Born in the USA,” would definitely be the phrase used to describe An American Art and Craft Collective, held at Grown and Sewn, located at 184 Duane Street in Tribeca.  Inside this store is a perfect weaving of art and fashion. 

Figures

Bruce Springsteen’s classic song brought attention to the disenfranchised in America in the 1980s – those dealing with the repercussions of the Vietnam War, joblessness and a struggling economy.  In the wake of the Great Recession, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and issues with our environment, there is no greater time to have a merged exhibition like An American Art and Craft Collective, especially since we are on the verge of a new decade.

Purvis Young

An American Art and Craft Collective brings together the works of urban visual griot Purvis Young and the Grown and Sewn collection. Grown and Sewn Dry Goods Collection is an innovative approach to casual fashion.  The collection’s signature product is the “Kax” and takes the best elements from the khaki and jean. 

The Kax is 100% cotton and is washed, baked and finished.  Every aspect of Grown and Sewn is American made down from the cotton used in the clothing to the rivets sewn on the Kaxs.  All the manufacturing of this product is made in the USA, with almost every region of the country contributing to bring Grown and Sewn to the masses.  This clothing line makes a powerful statement toward fixing what ails our society by offering a product that is environmentally friendly and provides jobs to Americans. 

Up in Arms against the System, c. 1987

The work of Purvis Young is provided by Skot Foreman Fine Art.  Purvis is a self-taught artist out of Overtown, Miami, Florida.  In his work he reuses squiggly lines and eyes to display the underbelly of American society, individuals caught in the system of poverty, incarceration and street life.  His pieces are full of rage, passion and reality that shine a spotlight on topics that most people would rather not focus on. 

Angel Baby Crib, c.1991

Purvis used the debris of Overtown, old cribs and pieces of wood, to create a body of work that tells a specific story, a somber story, that is nonetheless part of the American experience.  What is more disturbing to me is the thought that without artists like Purvis Young, this story would not be heard. 

Although I have viewed Purvis’ work before, seeing it in this setting was like witnessing it for the first time.  Purvis’s work is layered in such a way that upon each viewing a new facet is discovered.  The store’s décor also added a special element to his work.  There are huge bales of cotton cleverly placed through out the store; the tables are hand crafted with antique figurines and an old sewing table.  These raw components help to accentuate the coarse quality of Purvis’ work. 

Eyes, c. 1992

An American Art and Craft Collective will be on display until January 15, 2010 and is a marriage about what is best about American culture at a time when America needs it most.  After braving the blistering wind to get to Tribeca, I was electrified by what I saw and warmed with a renewed sense of hope.

Photos of Purvis Young’s artwork courtesy of Skot Forman Fine Art and Purvis Young.com

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