To Be Real

The first time I met Skot Foreman was during a Purvis Young exhibit at Gallery Bar in 2008.  I was pulled in Purvis’ world of struggle and redemption. I spoke with Skot briefly that evening and left thinking how Purvis Young had a real champion in Skot Foreman; he was someone that would fight to ensure the legacy of this artist (who was in failing health) would be properly maintained and not exploited.  But as I got to know Skot I came to the conclusion that it was not just Purvis that made him zealous.  Skot Foreman is passionate about three things: his two dogs Cassie and Reva and art.  Another thing I learned after getting to know him over the past two years is that Skot is a rebel.

Unlike the famed General Sherman, Skot made his march in reverse conquering one city at a time.  He opened Skot Foreman Fine Art in 1994 using various locations within the greater Miami area.  In 2001, he moved to Atlanta opening up a space in Castleberry Hill, the city’s gallery district.  Skot moved to Manhattan in 2004 and opened a gallery first on the upper eastside.  Currently, he is settled in Tribeca.  “I always had a connection to New York,” he states.  He admits that his journey to “the hub of the international art market” was one filled with baby steps.  Originally wanting to migrate to New York after 9/11, Skot re-thought the notion and moved three years later.   “I have always been one to swim upstream,” he states.  Skot called his initial move to the upper eastside “strategic,” and feels that living downtown is more indicative to his personality.  “It’s more creative and laid back…more on the DL,” he says, “There is a new discovery around every corner.” 

One of those discoveries happened to be situated underneath Skot’s Tribeca home and would eventually lead to an innovative union between Skot Foreman Fine Art and fashion brand Grown and Sewn.  Skot was introduced to Grown and Sewn’s founder and head designer Rob Magness through Rob’s wife Sara, an award- winning interior designer.  Over a glass of wine they discussed the space that would become Grown and Sewn’s home, 184 Duane Street.  Both had the desire to use the space for their creative endeavors and Sara suggested collaborating.  “Rob and I looked at each other and you could see the light going off in one another’s head,” he says.  Skot believes the synergy between he and Rob created magic.  “The word that keeps coming back to me is authentic because so many people that do walk in the space seem to respond to the fact that we’ve combined art and craft, which is truly a human thing but I think it’s probably been lost through the later half of the twentieth century and we wanted to rediscover that.”

Skot Foreman Fine Art amasses contemporary art of the 20th and 21st centuries and features the works of prominent artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Purvis Young, Keith Haring, M.C. Escher and many others.  “I try not to show artists that are the flavor of the day,” he asserts, “I try to show artists that have stood the test of time.  It starts with a chord that artist may have struck with me so it’s hard to remove any personal bias because if I don’t believe in it, if I don’t have conviction, then how can I share it with a friend or turn a collector on if I’m not passionately behind the work.”  Skot believes his penchant for pop art stems from his surroundings growing up in Florida and recalls being cognizant of signs, billboards and other media.  He also has a deep appreciation for artists that can take a sheet of paper and illustrate.  “I’m a little bit old fashioned in that regard,” he shares, “I like [artists] who have got some chops, knows how to draw, came up through the ranks and paid their dues.” 

Skot understands that artists are the visionaries of their times, no matter what genre one may choose t, which brings me full circle to how Skot and I met:  a showing of Purvis Young’s work.  Skot loves to “turn people on” to his work.  He describes Purvis’ art as shamanistic; indeed there is an other-worldly aesthetic to his pieces.  Skot and Purvis (who died in April) shared a friendship that spanned over 20 years.  One of Skot’s favorite stories about Purvis Young involves another shaman of sorts, the late rapper Tupac Shakur.  “I sent Tupac a portfolio of Purvis’ work to look at.  I wasn’t there; it was through a third party.  Tupac opens it up, starts looking at it, eyes start bugging, closes the portfolio up and says, this shit is fucking dope,” he recalls as we both begin to laugh.  It is no surprise to me that kismet made Skot Foreman one of the preeminent collectors of Purvis Young’s work. Besides both men being Floridians, Purvis’ work projects a naked genuineness that obviously comes from within.   It is that same frank verisimilitude that resonates from Skot’s demeanor and is the reason why they were kindred entities.

When it comes to the art that has been reflected during first decade of this millennium, Skot discloses that he has not been a fan of the new conceptual, instillation media that is meaningless but relies on the story behind it or the process of creation to hold its validity.  He is not concerned with the back-story of a work of art, and would like to see a renaissance of the fundamentals of drawing and painting develop.  “Everything is so media or marketing driven, and I think that’s probably why one day there is going to be a return back towards things that are authentic and accessible.   Things that are real.  People can see through all the smoke and mirrors.”

Photos courtesy of Skot Foreman

Films, Fun and Drive-Ins

April 21 marked the start of the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival, which runs to May 2.  This is the festival’s ninth year and the A-list celebrities, films and events should attract close to half million visitors.  Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff founded the Tribeca Film Festival in 2001 following the attacks on the World Trade Center to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of the lower Manhattan district through an annual celebration of film, music and culture.  TFF’s mission is to help filmmakers reach the broadest possible audience, enable the international film community and general public to experience the power of cinema and promote New York City as a major filmmaking center. 

For me the Tribeca Film Festival and cherry blossoms always mark the true beginning of spring.   With dozens of films and events to attend, TFF also provides fun and educational opportunities to attend the festival for free.  Check out the list of the free events:

Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair

Saturday, May 1

10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Greenwich Street from Chambers St. to Harrison St.

BMCC Tribeca PAC (199 Chambers St. bet. Greenwich St. and West St.)

Washington Market Park (Chambers St. at Greenwich St.)

Tribeca/ESPN Sports Day

Saturday, May 1

10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Duane Street between Greenwich Street and Hudson Street

Authors at the Helm

DATE: Monday, April 26


LOCATION: Barnes & Noble Union Square

Docs Doing It Right

DATE: Monday, April 26



Dollar and Sense: Making the Most of Your Production Budget

DATE: Wednesday, April 28



Talking With Pictures

DATE: Thursday, April 29



To purchase tickets for the Tribeca Film Festival, visit

Photos: Getty Images

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. 


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