Justice for 5 Pointz artist finally! After a three-week trial last November, a judge has awarded 21 graffiti artists $6.7 million after their work at was destroyed by a land developer, according to New York’s PIX 11 News.
The 21 artists filed a lawsuit under the Visual Artists Right Act against real estate developer Jerry Wolkoff (owner of the iconic Queens art mecca 5 Pointz). The heartless developer painted it over in 2013 and tore the building down a year later, not allowing the artist to salvage their work. It served as the first jury trial citing that specific law.
On Monday (February 12), Brooklyn Federal Judge Frederic Block reportedly said Wolkoff “showed no remorse.” The judge added “he wouldn’t have awarded so much in damages had Wolkoff secured the proper permits and waited 10 months longer to demolish the graffiti.”
“There have been other instances where graffiti artists have been recognized as deserving protection,” Mr. Nicyper said, adding that courts have ruled that clothing designers who cribbed ideas from graffiti artists were liable for intellectual theft. But the 5Pointz case, he said, was the first time that graffiti and graffiti artists were protected under V.A.R.A.
David Ebert, a lawyer for Mr. Wolkoff, did not return a call seeking comment.
Eric Baum, a lawyer for the artists, hailed the judgment, calling it “a victory not only for the artists in this case, but for artists all around the country.”
“The clear message is that art protected by federal law must be cherished and not destroyed,” Mr. Baum said. “With this win, the spirit of 5Pointz becomes a legacy for generations of artists to come.”
The 5 Pointz lot will be the location of upscale rental towers. Although we won’t get the iconic building back I is great to see these artist getting some justice. Too bad we may never get a iconic art mural like this again in our life time.