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5Pointz artists to showcase artwork reflecting grief following whitewash

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April 2, 2014 By Michael Florio

Several 5Pointz graffiti artists are about to showcase their artwork at a local gallery that explores their devastation after they discovered that the graffiti Mecca had been whitewashed.

The Jeffrey Leder Gallery, located at 21-37 45th Road, will host a show dedicated to the artists called “Whitewash.” It begins April 5 and runs through June 8

The show will feature the art work of nine graffiti/aerosol artists and two photographers. It will take up two floors of the gallery and include artists such as Cortes, See TF and Meres One.

“Whitewash, is an answer to the violent act of G&M Realty. Overnight thousands of murals adorning the building known as 5Pointz were destroyed,” said group spokeswoman Marie-Cecile Flaguel in a statement.

The building was abruptly whitewashed by the owners of the 5Pointz building–Jerry and David Wolkoff of G&M Realty—who have plans to demolish the building and erect two high-rise residential towers.

Jerry Wolkoff claimed at the time that he painted the building in order to avoid problems at the time of the building’s demolition.

Wolkoff said he whitewashed the building to stop the torture. “They [the artists] had to take their medicine,” he told LICPost at the time. “They will be upset with me for a day or two … and then everyone will be over it.”

However, it’s been more than four months since the whitewash and the artists remain upset.

Gallery owner Jeffrey Leder said that what happened at 5 Pointz was a big loss to the community, both aesthetically and emotionally.

“There’s an emptiness I experience now that 5Pointz is no more,” he said, whose gallery is near the 5 Pointz building. “It became a part of my life and when it was whitewashed I really missed it.”

Leder said the time is right for the show. “It certainly is time for us to do recognize the great work that has been done,” he said.

Photo: By George Burles

Photo: By George Burles

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15 Comments

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Kramden's Delicious Marshall

It’s sad that much of the city is turning into a sterile, corporate and characterless, glass and steel setting with no soul. The city we are now building is meant for robots not human beings.

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what a bunch of ingrate

Actually. Meresone I am not ignorant I simply have a different opinion than you. The owner does not have to “respect” the people he helped and then they paid him back by dragging him into court and tried to take control of his private property.
And what you can use your “tag” but i have to use my name?

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D'August

Yea. And the owners already putting something like 10k sq feet for artist but that isn’t anything compared to what it was. Sucks. Really really sucks.

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Townie

I think if you ever move this medium indoors you’re making museums. Which is okay if that’s what you want to do.

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D'August

Gotta wonder and throw this out there. It maybe too late to save what was there but what about working some deal out with owner that would allow a memorial to the 5pointz in the new planned structure. Could be like even a lobby concept with a designated spot/area/wall for artist to revolve pieces. Owner might like the commercial (um. Ie. financial) aspect of the concept and could be a showcase for retaining 5pointz memorial and keeping at least the spirit of the org site on location. I know its not ideal but its sad to think accepting that its been literally washed away from org site is all the art community can do at the site.

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D'August

@townie. Txs for the correction. Good to know. But still supports my thought right? Its sad we live in a country where the masses and most mainstream media pick and choose which expressive medium is taboo and which isn’t.

Reply
Ro

@ meresone that is unfortunate to hear. The message most people got from the “Save 5 Pointz” group was don’t tear down 5Pointz but no real solution that benefited both parties (artists and land owner). This is not to say that the group didn’t have a solution that worked for both parties but if there was one it never got out there.

Unfortunately, cheap housing does get politicians more votes but the destruction of such an icon will always be a big loss for our community. Ideally the developer would have preserved 60 to 80% of the exterior walls and maybe include some affordable housing in exchange for the additional FAR.

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meresone

@ Ro …believe me we fought on every level fro community board to city council..unfortunately we didnt have the necessary funds to make the proper strategic contributions that were made ..but thats how it works these days I supose…

Reply
Townie

Generally agree with D’August except the Mona Lisa is not on canvas. Wood panel, poplar. Canvas might have been better, since originally it was made from hemp. The word “canvas” derives from “Cannabis.” Had to get that in there…

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D'August

Huge fan of all street and sidewalk art. Huge fan of art! There is a thought behind muralist/wall pieces that don’t get the same deserved respect as other mediums in which expression takes flight. Look at the greats like Michaelangelo and DaVinci – they painted walls and not because canvas wasnt available (the Mona Lisa is on canvas – the Last Supper is not). They painted walls because there was a specific desire intended. They developed a style of working with wet plaster and impastos to achieve desired effects tones and depth. The same is often true of street art. You don’t have to go too far back in history to find recognized respected expressionism on structures. Diego Rivera’s arguably best works are large murals on walls and I’m sure there would be a huge outcry of injustice if we woke up tomorrow and people found them whitewashed. This is not to say that there isn’t some respect due the owners property rights but when an owner is permissive the law recognizes a concept of agreement by implied consent or acquiescence assent. Perhaps the 5pointz debacle best remonds us to focus on that other appeal of street art which is that there’s a performance element in the experience. So maybe someday someone will re-perform for the 5pointz.

Reply
Ro

I loved 5 Pointz but I can see why the property owner did what he did. The group of artists were trying to use landmarks and other laws that protect artwork to stop the demolition. If there was any slight chance of either of these laws complicating his plans he had to unfortunately destroy the art that was on the wall before it went any further. We have to remember that this is an investment property and it was purchased with the intent of maximizing returns. This is as true for a landlord speculating on properties or a school teacher who puts their pension money in a fund with the purpose of maximize returns.

I always thought the artists took the wrong approach on this. They should have pressured the local politicians and the city to tie the up zoning to the preservation of a good portion on the old building with the right to use it as a canvas. However, the politicians only focused on the low income housing component and pretty much ignored the great art work that was on the walls. They should have also payed more attention to the architecture of the new building because the proposed design will make for two ugly towers.

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Spam, egg, sausage and spam

I look forward to checking the show out. Shiro is one of my favorite artists. Her stuff is amazing.

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SWING TF WDF SIC

Tell it like it is brother. NYC missed it big here!!! Time will show how ignorant people truly are…sad.

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meresone

ITS PROBABLY BETTER THAT YOU DIDNT LEAVE A NAME..SO PEOPLE CANT PUT A FACE TO THE IGNORANT COMMENT YOU MADE…WE WERE THANKFUL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY AND HAPPY HE MADE A TON OF MONEY ON SHOOTS AND MOVIES…PAINTING OVERNIGHT WITH POLICE PROTECTION IS THE PROOF IF IT WAS EVER NEEDED THAT THIS ACT WAS COWARDLY AND DISRESPECTFUL..WHOS THE ACTUAL INGRATES HERE???U SHOULD BE SO LUCKY TO HAVE US PAINT YOUR WALLS…MERESONE

Reply
what a bunch of ingrates

The owners of this property were nice enough to let “artists” use their real estate and the artists pull this? Give me a break, I would not let an “artist” near anything of mine.

Reply

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