Curated by Avi Bash, The Bash Collection houses a unique archive of photographs, documents, and historical artifacts related to organized crime in the United States throughout the 20th century. Covering the East and West Coasts and all major mob affiliated cities in between, the Bash Collection combines rare photographs and historically significant artifacts to help gain a better perspective on an American subculture that many individuals prefer swept beneath the rug of society. The Bash Collection spans over six decades, beginning with the early years of an organized national crime syndicate in the 1920’s up until the downfall and restructuring of the mob in the 1980s. All items contained within the Bash Collection originate from family members and friends of America’s most notorious mobsters as well as the law enforcement officials who dedicated their careers working to halt the perpetual growth of an organization that spanned the entire nation.
While other cities are credited for birthing and honing the legendary crime figures who inevitably influenced and shaped their susceptible surroundings and culture, Miami is where the Mob, like many American citizens, often turned when seeking vacation, vice, or a new beginning. Dating back to the first quarter of the 20th century, resourceful gangsters from across the nation recognized the profitable business opportunities Miami could provide with its booming population, perfect year-round climate, cooperative law enforcement, and mutual understanding among otherwise rival gangs. The promise of an open city, free from familiar encumbrances and restrictions, prompted eager mobsters from around the country to migrate south and trade in their suits and fedoras for swim trunks and flip-flops. Organized Crime in Miami examines the considerable yet heavily underpublicized involvement of the American Mafia in South Florida and its lasting impact on the community through their business activities, both illegal and within the confines of the law.
From the black-handers and bootleggers of the early 20th century to political corruption and the rise and eventual toppling of a mafia family, the history of organized crime in Los Angeles visually chronicled within this work possesses the same level of intrigue, glamour, and murder, as the films that made the City of Angels iconic. Los Angeles Underworld showcases an extraordinary collection of rare and previously unpublished images pulled directly from family photo albums and top-secret police files.