Remembering 5Pointz

"I'm in awe—the destruction of 5Pointz seems an art in itself." — Wendy - Irvine, CA

Escrito por: Will Carter
Visuales de: Will Carter

All comments courtesy of The New York Times and the New York Post comment sections

November 19, 2013: Residents of Long Island City, Queens wake up to find that 5Pointz, a legendary haunt for graffiti artists, musicians, and other creatives, has been whitewashed in the cover of night. The owner of the plot, Jerry Wolkoff, felt this was the most merciful way to send the message to artists, who for 12 years had so diligently decorated the warehouse walls, that this was to be the end of an era. It’s estimated that over 1,500 artists had their work destroyed that night.

Larry Bole – Boston November 20, 2013

I always enjoyed seeing that building, particularly the photo-realist image of ‘Big Pun’, whenever I took the #7 between Manhattan and the 46thSt./Bliss St. station in Sunnyside, Queens. I’m glad I have that memory rather than a memory of the now-faceless building.

scanned film of 5 pointz in new york

The destruction of the artwork, along with the eventual demolition of the building and Wolkoff’s decision to build luxury condos in its stead, incited an intense debate over the purpose and value of graffiti and street art. Graffiti challenges normative views of property, ownership, high culture, and individuality. Because of this it has often found itself under scrutiny by both liberals and conservatives alike. It should be noted that for many years Jerry Wolkoff embraced the derelict building’s resurrection as 5Pointz and encouraged its growth as an institution of “Higher Burnin’.”

film from 5pointz new york city

Gregory B – Brooklyn November 20, 2013

Nothing can be more authentically “New York” than painting over a tourist trap (really, 5pointz is not a graffiti mecca, it’s an artificial construct that represents a New York from the past) and building luxury condos. This is New York.

Wendy- Irvine, CA November 20, 2013

A more suitable title for this article is, “On Loss and Letting Go.” I’m in awe—the destruction of 5Pointz seems an art in itself. It imparts to me the same feeling of catharsis evoked by Ai WeiWei’s Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn (1995).

film from 5 pointz

There’s a dark humor in the fact that the murals at 5Pointz were  whitewashed—It’s an apt metaphor for the systematic destruction of spaces and traditions typically frequented by and attributed to people of color. Graffiti law in New York City is vague, giving the arresting officer room to impose a fine anywhere between $250 and $1,500. Repeat “offenders” will either see their fine steadily increase or face jail time. With the potential reinstitution of stop-and-frisk policing around the country, it’s important to be aware of how these laws disproportionately burden non-white communities.

Dan – West Palm Beach November 20, 2013

If their art was so important, then why did they paint it on an old, abandoned building that was crumbling and subject to the elements and the whims of capitalist owners?

5Pointz may no longer stand as a monument to subversion, but its art continues to resonate with those who had the pleasure of witnessing the space in its prime. I remember 5Pointz with a heavy heart, and these photos were taken just weeks before it was covered over and stripped to the bone. They are the last memories I have of the space, and they still have a profound impact on my creative life. Even if you don’t agree with what it stood for, or the act of graffiti in and of itself, you can appreciate the delicate line work, and prolific precision of its painted facade. RIP 5POINTZ

Rogier Righart Nov 20, 2013 – @ak

 i never heard anyone who did not like to see a nice Graffiti Burner…people do not love tha Graffiti Tags (i do) but a Graffiti Piece….i never heard anybody who did not like to see a nice piece…..Never


Will Carter

Will Carter is a writer and translator. He enjoys plants, graphic novels, free jazz, and Stanley Kubrick films.

Will Carter

Will Carter is a writer and translator. He enjoys plants, graphic novels, free jazz, and Stanley Kubrick films.

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