Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Final paint job for 5 Pointz

From Crain's:

Working under the protection of NYPD officers in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, a crew of more than a dozen people painted over in white every square inch of the distinctive graffiti that had made the 5Pointz building in Long Island City a local landmark in recent years. The move came as the building's owner prepares to replace the industrial buildings with residential towers.

"I got it over with, and believe me, I had tears in my eyes," said Jerry Wolkoff, owner of G&M Realty. "I love what [the artists] did, otherwise I wouldn't have let them do it for the last 20 years, but it was time and I just wanted to end it."

Mr. Wolkoff and his son David, who together run G&M, and have plans to demolish the complex housing light-industrial users as well as artists' studios. In its place they plan to erect nearly 1,000 units of housing in two towers rising 41 and 47 stories.

One last mural:


georgetheatheist said...

Un fait accompli. You gotta admire Wolkoff's tactical move. A brilliant end run around the opposition.

Anonymous said...

A brilliant end run?

There's mucho $$$$ in damages due to the 16 plaintiff-artists for the 24 murals they created and were destroyed.

Violation of the federal "VARA Act" requires the payment of damages. It still ain't over yet, by George!

The owner could be tied up in court for years along with his "big plans".

The buzz in the biz is that his plans are phony. Wolkoff wants to quickly flip the property to get money to bail him out of his Pilgrim State quagmire.

Gerald Wolkoff just turned 77 years old. Will he survive long enough to see his "dream" built?

Anonymous said...

This isn't just a singular case of art murder.
It's mass murder...equal to the Nazis burning books!

Anonymous said...

Where's the L.I.C. "Arts Community"? Wasn't their councilman able to protect this "Art Space" oh wait, he's in the Owners pocket. Never mind...

Jerry Rotondi said...

You have to wonder.

Did Wolkoff really cry, in those wee hours of the morning, while all of that iconic 5 Pointz art was being vandalized by his workers?

We only have his word for that--and were those Crocodile tears, or the genuine article?

Sob, sob!
Pardon me folks--I think I need a handkerchief.

In the final analysis, Wolkoff is simply a real estate predator. I think that we can all respect a skillful predator or a damn good enemy.

Now, Let's cut to the chase--Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer is far worse than Wolkoff!

This self serving councilman is a coward--hiding in his political closet--without the stones to directly commit such a heinous act of destruction on his own.

Instead of protecting us from real estate predators--Jimmy Van Bramer serves to aid and abet their actions. He's an accomplice to art murder. He did not keep our house safe from tigers!

Councilman Jimmy turned his back on 5 Pointz and voted to let it be torn down. Much before that--he refused repeated requests--from many of his constituents, art organizations, etc.-- to support the preservation of this internationally known tourist destination.

It also looks like our "cultural czar" was bought and paid for with a sum total of about $10,200* in campaign contributions from several Wolkoff family members.

In our borough--chump change can easily buy a politician to carry around in your pocket--if you should ever need him for something.

So, there goes the only attraction in Queens, worth a busy tourist's time to visit.
There go all of the great internship school art programs, etc.

Queens will be gaining nothing with this loss.

"Rest in power, 5 Pointz", as a newly created mural located just across the street now proclaims.

* Information taken from the Campaign Finance Board--2013 election cycle reported donations.

Makes sense to me said...

If it's your book, you can burn it.

If it's your wall, you can paint over it.

Anonymous said...

There's mucho $$$$ in damages due to the 16 plaintiff-artists for the 24 murals they created and were destroyed.

The counter argument being, since every six months or so, each piece gets covered up with a new piece, and this is understood by all the artists.

In other words, the art was always going to be covered over with new paint...which is exactly what happend.

Its the same reason these morons are idiots for calling for the building to be landmarked. If it got landmark status, they could never go and change the murals!!!

Anonymous said...

Good point about the arts community - this little stunt has set it back a generation - if not fatally.

LIC will not be known for arts, but a soul crushing juggernaut that will be a soulless barracks for the international domestics, bottle cleaners and sweepers of the 21st century.

Nice work politicians. Hope you live well in retirement.

georgetheatheist said...

"Violation of the federal 'VARA' Act requires the payment of damages. It still ain't over yet, by George!"

VARA = The Visual Artists Rights Act

If you read the above-referenced Wikipedia entry, the VARA Act applies to artists of "recognized stature...To date, 'recognized stature' has managed to elude a precise definition."

I submit to you, esteemed readers, some artists and their artworks of "recognized stature":

Albrecht Dürer's "Hare" (WATERCOLOR)

Leonardo DaVinci's 'Mona Lisa" (OIL)

Donatello's "David" (BRONZE)

Michaelangelo's "David" (MARBLE)

Andy Warhol's "Marilyn" (ACRYLIC)

Anselm Adams' "Moonrise Over Hernandez, New Mexico" (PHOTOGRAPH)

I'm sure you can list many others of "recognized stature".

Quick, dear reader, please name me one graffitiest of "recognized stature".

Quickly now.

Anonymous said...

If you don't own it and paint on it, then don't be surprised if the owner paints over it.

Isn't it that simple?

Rembrandt said...

Watching the second video: that's "art"? Looks like glorified doodling. One step up from coloring a coloring book.

Anonymous said...

Where are all the parents of these kids tagging walls and fences in the dead of night?

Anonymous said...

A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit last month so this is not going to be tied up in court.

Queens Crapper said...

George: Banksy. Haring.

How'd I do?

Anonymous said...

I'll add to what the Crapper said, George. You that obviously haven't been following the court case.

The judge found that 24 of the pieces at 5 Pointz have "recognized stature" which means that they're covered by the VARA Act.

It doesn't matter that they've been painted over. The pieces have already been submitted to the courts as evidence and Exhibits.

As Anonymous #1 said before, this isn't over by a long shot and it may have been a big mistake by Wolkoff, not a "brilliant end run" around the artists.

georgetheatheist said...

Crapman: Knot 2 gud. Those guys are flashes in the pan.

Now go and shpritz no more.

Jerry W. said...

I created new art by painting the building white. You see, I too, am an "artiste".

I call my artwork: "Etude in White on Dilapidated Building"

Kunst ist Scheisse said...

George, you left out one medium in your list:


Anonymous said...

"A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit last month so this is not going to be tied up in court."

Incorrect. A federal judge denied a restraining order against Wolkoff. The VARA case was not dismissed.

Anonymous said...

This all needs to be seen in perspective. While 5 Pointz was unusual in this city in that an owner played along for a while thereby resulting in a building being covered in this stuff, there certainly is no shortage of graffiti in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx... And while having one building so fully covered in this admittedly looked somewhat interesting, irreplaceable it is not. "Common," "ordinary," "typical" or "dated" would be more accurate words to describe it.

In fact, of all of the graffiti in this city perhaps 0.001% (and this is being generous) shows some talent or originality. The rest of it is really nothing and one piece, tag or whatever, looks just like the next and just like what was done 40 years ago. How tiresome - both then and now.

It simply looks like chaos.
It simply looks trashy.
It simply looks like a poorly maintained, grubby little thing that the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers really would rather not have in their neighborhood.

Why? Because...

It says, "ugly."
It says, "neglect."
It says, "garbage."
It says, "if you live here, you live in a crap hole."

Graffiti makes most people less happy about their surroundings. That's the unvarnished truth.

Now, if some other building owner really believes graffiti to be great art and will consent to allow this all over his/her building, all the more power to him/her. But I wouldn't hold my breath. Most people would rather be happy.

Anonymous said...

People can argue over what "Art" is or isn't. Pwople can argue about the pros and cons of the likely real estate issues our borough faces.

However, graffiti on someone's private property (regardless of if it has been allowed in the past) without their consent is not "art" is a crime.

Jon Torodash said...

What a low blow. As Marie Falgeul wrote, it raises the question of who the vandal is.

Anonymous said...

" Jon Torodash said...
What a low blow. As Marie Falgeul wrote, it raises the question of who the vandal is."


Jon, because your name had a link, I clicked on it. Your statement above appears to be completely inconsistent with your beliefs and values shown on your web page - or at least it would not endear you to voters in Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Rego Park, Richmond Hill, Maspeth, and Elmhurst.

Did I misinterpret what you wrote here?

You're opposed to graffiti on public property and graffiti on SOME private property but other graffiti on private property should be protected?

Would you support bringing a 5 Pointz aesthetic to say, the building across the street from your co-op or perhaps to the building your co-op is in? Why don't you propose that at the next board meeting? According to your web page, you serve on the board.

Of course, I'm being facetious to make a point(z). That is, graffiti always looks a lot different when it's close to home.

Jerry Rotondi said...

I'm afraid that "makes sense to me", only makes sense to himself.

Enjoy life in your cocoon.
You will never emerge as a butterfly.

Thank God that most of the world can make sense between what's right and what's wrong!

Civilizations are remembered through the art they create. Barbarians are reviled by the art that they desecrate!

The Wolkoff family has blood on their hands!

Jerry Rotondi said...

George, I usually respect your opinions--but among your many talents--you are DEFINITELY NOT a lawyer, a judge, or Congress!

You have an inquiring mind, but Wikipedia is not the final judge on anything.

When federal Judge Block publishes his ruling, we will see if 5 Pointz's art has stature.

Since I was present at ALL of the hearings--(arriving in Brooklyn at about 8:30 AM--maybe while you were still asleep) it's my opinion that he will agree that 5 Pointz art does possess "stature". He appeared to be leaning that way. We'll see.

Judge Block DID personally visit 5 Pointz, and conveyed his opinion, in court, that he was greatly impressed by the art on its walls.

I personally read the entire VARA Law and a very good Fordham Law School review of it.
Have a read for yourself. Look up ( I believe it's) "Carter VS Helmsly-Spear", too.

Yes, there are some loop holes in VARA. That's what litigation is all about.

G-d bless America!
It's still a nation of laws, if not justice!

Groan--I should have gone to law school--but I have no regrets about my professional career in art. It made me free and clear of my mortgage.


Anonymous said...

Go and paint yourself over, bub!

"VARA" covers sketches to be protected. Sketches AREN'T meant to be permanent.

You're just a foaming at the mouth, wannabee legal expert, who's really as dumb as dirt when it comes to understanding this case.

Anonymous said...

The scrawls are beginning to replace the art that was once there.

Go and take a look at 5 Pointz now. it's about to return to the REAL tagged up mess that it was , many years ago, before its curator Meres turned it into a vital outdoor art museum.

From dust we came. From dust we shall return.

DO NOT rest in peace, Mr. Wolkoff!

Anonymous said...

Fools comments (in this case) unlike their faces, will always appear in public places.

I'll bet it's only 1 or 2 people writing all these 5 Pointz haters' comments.

Enjoy your 10 seconds of fame...maybe take it to the bank and try to cash it.

YOU ARE the scrawlers...hiding behind anonymity!
Verbal tagging in cyberspace is like a cur pissing to mark its territory.

Bow, wow...bark for your biscuit.

Anonymous said...

Yawn "clever" handle....but art is not shit.
You've employed the wrong metaphor.
Yeah, I can read a little German.

Michaelangelo said...

Uh, "Rembrandt"...can YOU keep in line when working in a coloring book?

Pick up an aerosol can and attempt to draw a straight line. Your mental skills appear to be lacking too, as witnessed by your ignorant post..

While we're at YOUR artwork.
Please allow US to be the judge of your talent!


Jerry Rotondi said...

That's a good point for 5 Pointz, Jon Torodash.

Film Noir, scene #1:

1:00 AM, Tuesday morning (prime graffiti strike force time) Wolkoff's "crew" shows up and "hits" the building with white wash.

Where's the NYPD vandal squad?

Adding insult to injury--Wolkoff used OUR tax money to have NYPD officers work OVERTIME to protect his painters from getting a "beat down" by "angry graffiti writers"--whom he feared.

Meanwhile the 5 Pointz artists were in bed, dreaming colorful dreams, not intent on harming anyone.

I rest my case.

And, while all this was going on, Wolkoff claimed he actually broke down and cried.

Well, boo-hoo to you!

Can all of the tears in Heaven wash away this lurid crime?

Anonymous said...

Jon, a low blow, you say?

Nothing compared with the blow job that CM Van Bramer gave to some financially connected parties who saw 5 Pointz's real potential as a tourist money maker and wanted to develop and preserve it as such.

They sought his support but got bupkas (Yiddish for beans). They eventually got a phony meeting with Jimmy.

But, then, shady pols are always good at blowing smoke up everyone's asses.

He stonewalled and jerked the interested parties around like a pet poodle.

Are you proud of your work Councilman?

Anonymous said...

This is all about covert "White" racism.

The cabal at CB2 doesn't appreciate darker minorities, They maintain a few tokens on board so as to appear liberal.

It ain't people of color!

H-m-m-m... Joe Conley and Van Bramer are as "White" as you can get.

That devil's duo screwed 5 Pointz.

Anonymous said...

Wolkoff probably did cry.

It was for the money he had to spend hiring non-union Mexican illegal immigrants to do his dirty work at night.

He really is a cheap MF of a slumlord.

Jerry didn't use union labor at his Pilgrim State project either.

georgetheatheist said...

Jerry said: "Civilizations are remembered through the art they create."

I somewhat agree. (They are remembered for other things as well.) But graffiti is "art"? Seems like cartooning or illustration to me. I understand your pain and commiseration here Jerry since you are a very talented cartoonist.

This reminds me of the debate in art circles if Norman Rockwell, the Saturday Evening Post's illustrator, could be considered an artist. His work is reviled in some "artistic" circles.

Rembrandt said...

Michaelangelo. Holding an aerosol can steady to make a straight line? That's your definition of "art"? Folks, that's his definition of art: manual dexterity to make a straight line.

I gotta get outta here.

Jerry W. said...

I hope you are all enjoying my recently created artwork: "Etude in White on a Dilapidated Building"

When my new construction is finished, the ground floor will be an art gallery.

Norman Rockwell said...

I fart on all you artists.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Three quick things:

If you truly think the 5Pointz whitewashing is the same as Nazi book burning, you need to see a psychiatrist immediately.

What's a real estate predator? Is it the guy who built the place where you live?

"Mass murder" and "blood on their hands" are instances of irresponsible hyperbolic rhetoric. Especially in the city that bore the brunt of Sept. 11, 2001. Tone it down if you want to be taken seriously.

That is all.

Anonymous said...

I expected these kinds of ignorant rants when I made my comment regarding Nazi book burning.

If you think I need a psychiatrist, I'll agree to see one if you agree to going back to night school to get yourself a decent education, Archie Bunker.

Your working class ignorance is showing!
Zip up your fly.

Did you graduate high school...have a college degree...a graduate degree?

Throwbacks are throwbacks....and you strike us as an ignorant throw back!

If you had an ancient Spartan mother, she would have dropped you off a cliff into the churning Aegean as a mental weakling.

Then she would have returned back home to nurture her better and stronger sons.

I don't need or care to be taken seriously by jerk wads like you.

I must have struck a nerve to get you so riled up.
I suggest that you wipe the dribble off your chin and tone down your own particular brand of sputtering "hyperbolic rhetoric".


Jerry Rotondi said...

George--one more time--
stick to the academic disciplines that you have mastered and have credentials to support.

The higher courts will decide the case--not you or me--as to what value the 5 Pointz ART has, and what is owed the 16 plaintiffs-artists.

I respectfully beg to differ with your opinion.

Anonymous said...

LOL! Tone it down?
You sound like my pompous old biddy of a grade school teacher.

It doesn't matter WHAT TONE any poster takes.
5Pointz art is gone!

You're just an angry malcontent...perhaps for your own failure in life?

Anonymous said...

Did YOU personally bare the brunt of 9-11?
My close family friends did! One son died there!
Talk about grandstanding...stop trading on that tragedy.

Kunst ist Scheisse said...

"5Pointz art is gone!"

Erratum. 5Pointz doodling is gone.

Archie Bunker said...

At least they didn't color outside the lines.

Anonymous said...

OK, OK, ladies and gentlemen, I concede. Let me follow up my last post now that I see the error of my ways.

• The painting over of 5Pointz and the Nazi burning of books are on the exact same level.
• Although I did not declare myself an art critic, it's clear that only an art critic could have said the things I said.
• And yes, the Wolkoffs are murderers with blood on their hands, as surely as anyone who has ever killed anyone else.
• I am the runt of the litter, mentally as well as physically, and probably should have been aborted. Let me now go back under the rock from which I crawled, and leave this discussion to my betters. Lo siento!

Ned said...

I know art and gave these "artists" fair prospect by spending a good 20 minutes on Bing images.
The only 'art" I could observe was approximately 4 pieces: One batman like piece by Whitey Blackman and 3 or so first-rate portraits of real people and a girl in a bikini
All the rest is creepy or run of the mill illegible meaningless 70’s style ‘bubble’ graffiti - Nothing good.

Taking all this into consideration Id say these “artists” and management ruined it for themselves. For every one "real artist" they allowed perhaps 100 talentless run of the mill vandals ‘slop tag” in one free for all pissing the whole city (and judges) off in the process.
Perhaps they have nobody to blame but themselves !!

Dr. Frosty Finger said...

Im certain that many proctologists would welcome some of these ignorant big assholes posting anti 5 Pointz comments here as patients.

It makes their jobs a hell of a lot easier!