The future of 5 Pointz might now be measured in weeks. A federal court in Brooklyn ruled Tuesday against an injunction that would have stopped the demolition of the graffiti and street art center in Long Island City.
Building owners Jerry Wolkoff and his son David have already had their plans for the property approved; their redevelopment calls for razing the existing structure and replacing it with two residential towers. The injunction was filed by several artists under the Visual Artists Rights Act. According to the Guardian: the act “gives copyright protections to artists, but whether graffiti and ‘aerosol works’ are protected under the statute is controversial, because the works are usually illegal.” However, this permanent injunction was denied by the United States District Court in Brooklyn.
As the New York Daily News reported:
“[Brooklyn federal court] Judge Frederic Block indicated last Friday, at the end of three days of hearings in the case, that he’s sympathetic to the artists’ plight but could not stop the owners of the building from exercising their right to redevelop the property into two residential towers. Their redevelopment plan has all required city approvals.”
A request for landmarking has also not been successful with the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and now with the temporary restraining order on demolition also out of the way, the owners of the building want to demolish it by the end of the year.
The outdoor art gallery might already have been given its final blow this week, at least with regard to its status as a canvas for collaboration. This Wednesday, 5 Pointz posted on their Twitter that they had been notified that no more painting was allowed on the building.
In response to the impending demolition, tomorrow afternoon they are hosting a Rally to Save 5 Pointz from 4 to 5 pm for the community to come out to show support for “The Institute of Higher Burnin’.” They’re also asking people to download and sign the landmark form to hopefully keep the street art icon from disappearing into new development.
As arts communities around the world experience a time of challenge and change, accessible, independent reporting on these developments is more important than ever.
Please consider supporting our journalism, and help keep our independent reporting free and accessible to all.