Iconic Graffiti Haven 5Pointz was Illegally Destroyed, According to Jury
A win for the art community
A Brooklyn jury has found that New York City real estate developer Jerry Wolkoff broke the law when he painted over and destroyed the iconic 5Pointz mural in Queens back in 2013.
The Jury made its decision, but it will be the federal judge who will render a final verdict. The jury’s decision will serve as a recommendation for the judge.
It was a much-needed win for the New York City art scene. For more than two decades, 5Pointz, located in Long Island City, Queens, was an artist haven. A place where graffiti artists from all over could come and tag on any one of the number of buildings. The work was done with the knowledge of Wolkoff, the developer. Wolkoff says it was always understood that the buildings and artwork would be destroyed when he was ready to build new housing.
Then, in November of 2013, Wolkoff had people paint over the work with white paint. In 2014, he formally destroyed the buildings, paving the way for two luxury towers to be built in its place. (Those buildings are set to open in late 2018.)
Shortly after, the artists sued Mr. Wolkoff in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, claiming he violated the Visual Artists Rights Act. Eric Baum, the artist’s lawyer, claims that Wolkoff was supposed to give the artists 90 days notice before destroying the work.
The juror agreed.
We will never get 5Pointz back, but at least we’ll be able to see the artists get justice.