©POP Gallery, the pre-eminent Detroit pop culture showcase for over a decade, launching pad for some of the world’s most influential and important visual artists of the last 20 years, home to some of the Midwest's most exhilarating exhibitions and events, one of the country’s first galleries dedicated to a then brand new “lowbrow” aesthetic, and the halls where pilgrim hipsters came to worship at the feet of the culture-clerics, was humbly and appropriately born as a small but trendy shop in Royal Oak, a tony suburb of Detroit, within the cloisters of a renovated old church. Here the original impetus was selling rock and roll poster art and graphics, Kustom Kulture and vintage visual memorabilia, but soon ©POP burst rather ceremoniously into public and media awareness when world-renown allegorical Cartoon Surrealist, Robert Williams was chosen for the gallery's debut exhibit, "Grab Yer Ankles, Detroit". A media-frenzy ensued, instantly embossing the familiar "cpopyright" logo into the Detroit cultural psyche, and quickly ©POP became THE gallery in which to be shown or be seen. ©POP exposed and promoted the unbelievable range of visual talent fermenting in this "New Munich". Soon local first-timers with names like Niagara, Glenn Barr, Mark Dancey, Tom Thewes, Tristan Eaton and many more soon-to-be nationally famous Motor City artists would find their first successful exhibits in the basement of an old church. By 1997, some of America's leading cutting-edge art and culture journals such as "Juxtapoz", "Your Flesh", "Art Alternatives" and "Details" trumpeted the gallery and the artists who were emerging from this suburban, "underground-zero" into national prominence.
In 1999, Tom Thewes, ©POP Owner/CEO, fiercely believed in the fundamentally powerful relevance of this group of artists who used the visual vocabulary of popular culture (cartoons, rock posters, advertising and graffiti) to communicate and express themselves in a way that broke through the worn ivory tower elitism of the then pervasive over-intellectualized art institutions. So he began to implement his grand vision for ©POP as the leading proponent of these brave underground art rebels by renovating a three story former trophy shop, bar, post office and den of iniquity in Detroit's Mid-town Cultural Center, into a world-class exhibition space and multi-discipline focal point for this pop-culture revolution. The newly improved cultural showcase opened to much fanfare and excited expectation with a "Grand Re-Opening" exhibition entitled, "© Stands For..." which included all of the ©POP regulars plus names like Mark Ryden, H.R. Giger, Robert Williams, Eric White, Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, Isabel Samaras and many more.
Also, as an urban pioneer during a time when Detroit remained a post-industrial wasteland and the last great American city to experience its renaissance, the gallery cemented the foundation for a cultural domino effect which developed an impressive "gallery row" on the south end of the Detroit’s Cultural Center, that still continues to grow with more galleries and cultural venues every year.
Setting the bar high led to more than 20 exhibits a year for the two-floor gallery with such names as Shag, Shephard Fairey, Ron English, Bask, Yumiko Kawikawa, Tristan Eaton, Iggy Pop and some of the most legendary Art openings in the city's history with exhibits like Carnivora, ©POPportunity and BombPop which gathered together some of the world’s now most renowned graffiti heavy-hitters like SCRIBE, QUISP, DENZ, MEAR, DAIM, SCOPE, SCOUT, Jeff Soto, CYCLE, Tes1, BASK, Dr. Revolt, MEWS, QUISP, Andrew Spear, SILOUETTE, MAC and so many more, which helped build ©POP's mythic status, as patrons came from every continent (except Antarctica) to visit this iconic space.
Now ©POP moves on to a greater level of influence as it seeks to build partnerships with world-class events in order to promote it’s artists though venues around the globe and across the internet. With this new mission firmly in place ©POP looks forward to providing exciting announcements in the very near future. Be sure to check back with us so you don't miss anything!