Nov. 19, By Christian Murray
The owner of the iconic 5 Pointz building sent in a crew of painters in the cover of darkness to whitewash the building in the early hours this morning.
The artists discovered that their art was gone shortly after dawn, tweeting: “5 pointz is gone building was painted overnight…”
A paint crew, along with police protection, came around 1 a.m. and finished around 7 a.m.
Jerry Wolkoff, the owner of the 5 Pointz building, said he sent in painters to bring the battle with the artists to an end.
“I whitewashed the building to stop the torture,” Wolkoff said. “They [the artists] had to take their medicine,” he said, adding that “they will be upset with me for a day or two … and then everyone will be over it.”
Wolkoff said it would have been extremely difficult to demolish the building piece by piece, art work by artwork. “If I was able to implode the building I would have,” he said. “This way it is now done.”
He said he did it in the early hours of the morning to avoid conflict. “The last thing I wanted was people getting arrested.”
However, the artists viewed Wolkoff’s action to paint the building as underhanded and as a historic loss. “Biggest art crime committed by Jerry Wolkoff… 5 Pointz Genocide,” the group wrote on twitter.
The paint over occurred as the 5 Pointz leaders were starting to launch a bid to landmark the building. At a rally held at the building on Saturday, they were handing out landmark petition forms.
Wolkoff claimed that the artists would never have been able to landmark the building. “My building is a piece of crap with no architectural significance,” he said, and the artwork kept changing.
The building is expected to be replaced by two residential towers– one 41 stories and the other 47 stories tall. The developer’s plan was approved by the New York City Council.
Marie Cecile Flaguel, who represents the artists, stood outside the 5 Pointz building this morning and was in tears. She did not want to comment.
Wolkoff said that claims that he was an art criminal were ridiculous. “If I were an art murderer I wouldn’t have allowed them to paint all these years.”
He said that he loved the art that they do. “It made me cry when I saw them painting over it,” he said.
A peaceful candlelight vigil will be held for 5Pointz at 5 p.m. this evening.