Tools of Criminal Mischief (TOCM) represents the humor and independence of the underground through the methods of misconduct and delinquency. TOCM expresses the artistic freedom of deviant behavior in a “tongue in cheek” style. The philosophy of non-conformity is an attitude rich in history and fun. The TOCM aesthetic shines a light on the irony and stigma that is often associated with a lifestyle people infatuate and romanticize. It is the method behind the brilliant and hilarious madness of the lawbreaker.
Roger Gastman is a collector, curator, graffiti historian and urban anthropologist. This special selection of Gastman’s private collection of TOCM artwork and ephemera conceptually represents the way civil disobedience is practiced and how these methods have influenced artists and society. The danger, history, process, propaganda, spray cans, magic markers, local styles, Internet curiosities and things you can’t un-see are just a few parts of this naughtiness that Roger Gastman fixates on. The oddities and rarities of the ideas executed are what excite him – especially pedestrian graffiti and the strange pop culture references. This is his personal collection that he’s hand picked over several years and for the first time it will be exhibited and on sale to the public. Highlights of the collection span from a wall of 30+ anti-graffiti signage, strange Craig’s List ads, anti-drug photographs and propaganda, original graffiti Garbage Pail Kids cards from around the world, spray paint can prints, and a wall of unusual original and found art significant to Gastman’s personal tastes.
About Roger Gastman:
Roger Gastman began writing graffiti as a teenager in Bethesda, Maryland, and later parlayed his love for it into a legitimate career, becoming a trusted mediator between the underground art scenes and mainstream culture. He founded and published two respected pop-culture magazines—While You Were Sleeping and Swindle (co-publisher with Shepard Fairey)—as well as more than 30 highly sought-after art books. Gastman served as consulting producer for Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop, which earned an Academy Award nomination for best documentary. In 2013, HarperCollins released Gastman’s The History of American Graffiti—the definitive story behind the most influential art form in the last 100 years—and Jeffrey Deitch asked him to co-curate Art in the Streets at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, which is the first comprehensive U.S. museum survey of graffiti and street art. He curated PUMP ME UP: D.C. subculture of the 1980s at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 2013 and produced the companion documentary narrated by Henry Rollins, The Legend of COOL “DISCO” DAN, an educational film about D.C. culture and their most prolific graffiti artist. He’s currently directing a documentary for Sanrio/Hello Kitty on the history of the brand and its fans.
Roger Gastman “Tools of Criminal Mischief”
The Seventh Letter, Los Angles
June 7th – June 21st, 2014
Opening reception: June 7th 8-11pm