"der Lärm's first studio space was in a leaky basement on the corner of 3rd and Main in Royal Oak, Michigan. We shared a parking lot with the restaurant and apartments next door. In one of these apartments dwelt "Dr." Jack Kevorkian who also owned the building. At first we thought him a quirky old kook, just another of the interesting cast of characters in a creatively burgeoning Detroit suburb as yet undiscovered by mass culture. That first year, Dr. Death, as we affectionately dubbed him, rose to prominence in a solar storm of media hype. At that time my brother was studying medical ethics at Georgetown University and as we both held similarly late working hours we held many early morning phone conversations discussing the serious issues surrounding physician assisted suicide and contrasting them with the wildly flamboyant antics of Dr Death and his egomaniacal, ambitious lawyer Geoffrey Fieger. These discussions led to a series of pieces, finished and unfinished, that I premiered in my first gallery show at ©POP, an exhibition which began a business relationship that would define my life for the next decade and a half." - Tom Thewes
Tom Thewes fiercely believes in the fundamentally powerful relevance of the 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. He then began to implement his grand vision for his Detroit gallery ©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 Midtown 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.