Tuesday, April 11, 2017

5Pointz heading to court

From the NY Times:

This is no vandalism case in a criminal courthouse, but rather a federal lawsuit filed in 2013 by the 23 artists who painted regularly at 5Pointz, against its owner, Jerry Wolkoff, who ordered the artwork destroyed.

The artists scored an incremental legal victory on March 31 when Judge Frederic Block of Federal District Court in Brooklyn ruled that their case could have a jury trial.

The plaintiffs hope it could become a landmark case. Celebrity artists like Banksy have gained prominence in recent years, and street art — whether spray painted, stenciled or wheat-pasted — has gained increasing respect and value, even when created on walls not owned by the artists.

The ruling sets up the fascinating scene of a trial in which art experts could be called to weigh in on the integrity of what court papers call “aerosol art,” and to evaluate the graffiti artists themselves. Evidence will include articles on 5Pointz, a building complex along Jackson Avenue in Long Island City that was covered with spray-painted murals by top street artists from New York and around the world.

Painting with Mr. Wolkoff’s permission, artists had turned the spot into an international graffiti mecca, an exhibition space and conservatory.

Preparing to build high rises on the property in 2013, Mr. Wolkoff faced opposition from the artists, who sought to block the demolition. He hired a crew that painted over the murals under cover of night, then left the building sitting for months until it was knocked down in 2014.

The judge’s ruling offers the artists a chance to confront Mr. Wolkoff in court and to seek redress for painting over their work, said Jonathan Cohen, an artist who had curated the murals and helped organize the artists at 5Pointz since 2002.

Mr. Cohen said he was hopeful that the suit might become a landmark case to establish street art as legitimate contributions worthy of protection.


(sarc) said...

Oh yes!

We need a landmark court case to recognize and condone the vandalizing of others' private property.

Let us open the floodgates of graffiti across the country with no possible legal action or recourse.

"Only in New York"...

Anonymous said...

Sarc, try reading more closely before laying on the sarcasm:

" Painting with Mr. Wolkoff’s permission, artists had turned the spot into an international graffiti mecca". If you go on to read the full article, Wolkoff counters:

“They call it bombing, and the next artist goes over someone else’s work,” he said. “They painted over their own work continually, and it goes on for years. That’s the idea of graffiti. There were tens of thousands of paintings there, over the years, and they’d last for three or six or nine months.”

Mr. Wolkoff said he liked and respected the artists and was a fan of their work.

“I never thought they’d sue me — they bit the hand that fed them,” he said, adding that the work was, after all, spray painted on his property. He said he reminded the artists constantly that one day he would turn the building into high-rises.

“They knew for 10 years I was going to tear the building down,” he said

The attorney representing the artist says that he did not give them the required 90 days notice to preserve their work (perhaps by photographing it for a portfolio? I don't know how it works with spray painted walls.)

Maybe you don't like aerosol art, and that's okay, but don't dumb down the comment section by oversimplifying the case.

Anonymous said...

This will be an interesting case...

I, personally, am sick and tired of funded "neighborhood beautification" projects that are little more than graffiti (not tagging - except where the artist writes their name). In one instance, a grant paid for "aerosal" art with the OK of the owner, then had to remove it because a tenant was told they would not get business from an insurance company - it looked too slum-like.

Then again, art is often at its best when it gets people talking... like it or not.

Anonymous said...

"Artists" more like vandals.

LibertyBoyNYC said...

It's a ridiculous lawsuit. The judge is probably just angling to lean on Wolkoff for a few units. The "aerosol artists" are just useful idiots.

Anonymous said...

That wasn't art, that was "organized vandalism"
That hippie judge and these people are all crazy--aerosol art my ass !!
I hear most of these jerks complaining aren't even from New York, work or pay property taxes only to look at that albatross nasty shit that made no sense.
You couldn't even read the words & meanings on some of that graffiti, it was worth NOTHING

Anonymous said...

It was a fad. Time to move on.

You don't own the property you have no say.

This is still America.

(sarc) said...

Anonymous said...

"Sarc, try reading more closely before laying on the sarcasm:...
...Maybe you don't like aerosol art, and that's okay, but don't dumb down the comment section by oversimplifying the case.

You are correct I DO NOT LIKE "AEROSOL ART"!

It is the opinion of many, myself included, that "aerosol art" is not good at all for property values.

When in an unfamiliar area "aerosol art" is always a good indicator to verify car doors are locked and check navigation for an alternate route or WRONG TURN.

It is oft associated with gangs and the illegal drug trade as these always are hand in hand!

“They call it bombing, and the next artist goes over someone else’s work,” he said. “They painted over their own work continually, and it goes on for years. That’s the idea of graffiti..."

BOMBING is part of gang turf wars and a "dis" from one thug or gang to another. It is NOT a continuing art form.

Most every piece of so called "aerosol art" I have seen has been provided without request and without permission.

I personally call that felony vandalism.

You May consider it art, rather than the scourge and blight to a community that it really is.

Regardless, historically, and there is much case law to support the fact that artwork generally is the property of the owner of the "canvas" and person who commissioned the "piece of crap".

As for: "dumb down the comment section by oversimplifying the case"

Please remember this is "The Queens Crapper" and most here have the attention span of a goldfish, myself included...

Anonymous said...

i waste too much time cleaning this CRAP off my house
why r you wasting time on this ghetto bullshit?

Guillermo Alto said...

I'm with sarc. It is glorified vandalism, for the most part and usually propagated by sociopaths with no respect for other people or their property. A lot of them are so antisocial that they disrespect their own kind by "buffing" or going over other "artist's "work" that they perceive to be less meritorious than their own. The common thread with these miscreants is that they almost never own property and lack empathy for those of us who do.

Anonymous said...

Ghetto BS is an understatement for the eyesore that it was. However -

Be careful here folks. Giving someone permission to "put/construct" "something" on your "privately owned" property does not and should not give them the right/ownership to dictate what happens to that "something" they "put/construct" on "privately owned" property regardless of whether they have the property owners permission.

Yet this court case could set a DANGEROUS PRECEDENT if the jury sides with the "artists". I completely disagree with this judges ruling for a jury trial in that the only accomplishment on the judges part is to fill the pockets of attorneys and use TAX PAYER DOLLARS inefficiently. The court system should have nixed the judges ruling based on the WASTE OF TAX PAYER DOLLARS and protection of the rights of property owners that hire individuals/groups to alter their structures/property - and that's all this was - an alteration of Mr. Wolkoffs property "with his permission" to do so. I don't know why the judge couldn't determine this on his own.

If this case does result in a win for the "artists" I would think twice about allowing a contractor, landscaper, or anyone else for that matter, to do anything on "privately owned" property that may alter its appearance without first having them sign a legal document recusing themselves of any type of ownership to their "work".
I can only imagine the frivolous lawsuits that could further paralyze our court systems if this case is ruled on the side of the "artists".

Anonymous said...

Asshole "sarc".
ALL art at 5 Pointz was done by permission and THEREFOREIS NOY
If your brain cannot keep up with the value of 21sr century art forms, then please retr ear to your cave.
Ignorance is bliss, in your case!

Anonymous said...

Liberty Boy needs to liberate his archaic gray matter.
The VARA LAW.... Visual artists rights act recognizes that the ART at 5 Pointz does indeed have stature.
Federal judge Frederick Block. (He is the guy who put John Gotti away) already ruled that the artists must be paid. I attended all the hearings. The court case is to determine just how much the artists will be paid.
Under federal law , the artists were supposed to be allowed 90 days to document or remove any of the art for posterity.
You are a total fool if you cannot understand the basic precedence of law here.
Have another beer and relax. Maybe you will see more clearly then.
Dumb Queensite!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a lot of ultra conservative ignorant buttholes or Wolkoff trolls are busy posting.
I will give 20 to 1 odds that the artists get paid in full.
Return to the 1920s you ignorant bastards!

Anonymous said...

I got news for you dummies, there is already case law on the books that favored artists in regard to the VARA law.
Read and weep! If you can, that is. Beer and pretzels, t he staple of Queens hug heads.
No wonder this is seen as an ignorant farmers borough. Glad I live in Brooklyn.
Left my Quuens home 10 years ago. Tired of the crabgrass mentality of its throwback residents.

Anonymous said...

Ignorance and jealousy, the bane of the working class!
Welcome to Nebraska.
No wonder nobody comes to Queens for culture.
BTW, in its heyday at least ten tourist buses regularly stopped at 5 Pointz.
More than visited that crappy P.S. 1.

Anonymous said...

Uh, your homeowners' insurance covers landscapers and contractors, you fool.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the total collective IQ of Queens is.
This is not a borough of the brainy, I am sure.
Lackluster ticky tacky living in various style boxes.
Manhattan, Brooklyn, even the Bronx, rocks.
Queens? Burp! I've had my fill of the lack of imagination here.
In the process of selling my house and moving to Crown Heights.
Aahhh....the Brooklyn Museum.
And what have we've got? The Queens Musem?
What a dump!

Anonymous said...

Lesson learned. Never let somebody paint or decorate your property as they can sue you later. Either that or have a 10 page contract.

Anonymous said...

Oooh Crown Heights, so cool. Would like to see you walk through that neighborhood 25 years ago, you'd shit your pants, artsy boy. Fuck the "artists." They ultimately ruin every neighborhood they infest. The minorities whose families have lived there for generations and are being displaced revile the "artists," especially sanctimonious, snot-nosed white bitches who come from Queens.