October 17, By Christian Murray
The demolition crew tasked with the job of bulldozing 5 Pointz is going to have to wait–as the 5 Pointz artists were able to convince a Federal Court Judge today to grant them a temporary restraining order, which prohibits the developer from tampering with the building.
The decision follows a lawsuit filed by 17 artists last week against G&M Realty (the owner of the property), which argues that the building cannot be destroyed since it would undermine the plaintiffs’ artwork as defined by the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act.
The lawsuit claims that many pieces of work are recognized throughout the country and the destruction of the artwork would damage the artists.
The District Court judge’s decision to grant a 10-day restraining order was deemed by the plaintiffs as the first step toward getting a permanent injunction.
The plaintiffs hope the judge will come back before October 28 and announce a hearing for a preliminary injunction. At that point, the artists would be called upon to testify.
Jeannine Chanes, the attorney for the artists, said that the artwork should be protected since it was completed post 1990 (when the Act was introduced), is highly acclaimed, and was done with the permission of a property owner. Therefore, she said, the artwork cannot be altered without each artist’s consent.
She said that G&M Realty needs to get a waiver from each of the artists before it can remove their work.
G&M Realty could not be reached for comment.
Chanes said the Visual Artists Rights Act is narrowly defined and only applies to paintings and sculptures. Furthermore, work for hire would not be protected either—nor graffiti art that is done without the property owner’s consent (such as Banksy).
“Aerosol art would be considered painting,” Chanes claims. “Jeannine was here…would not.”