Graffiti Writers Are Suing the Owner of 5Pointz for Whitewashing Their Art

June 16, 2015 | Liam Mathews

A group of urban artists is suing Jerry Wolkoff, the owner and developer of the lot in Queens that was once 5Pointz and is now a construction site where two apartment towers are being built, for whitewashing their work without giving them enough time to retrieve it, the Daily News reports. The artists are claiming that the works were protected under the U.S. Visual Artists Rights Acts, a law that offers protection to artists whose work was destroyed without their permission. The artists will have to prove that the works destroyed were of “recognized stature.”

Artists sued in 2013 to keep Wolkoff from tearing 5Pointz down. They lost that case, but the judge said that they may be able to invoke “recognized stature” for some of the famous pieces, including LADY PINK’s “Green Mother Earth.”

The group of artists in the suit span the globe, and along with 5Pointz curator MERES One, include LADY PINK, James Cochran (London), Shiro (Japan), PYTHON, PANIC, Esteban del Valle, SEE TF, Dazic, ZIMAD, JERMS, TOPAZE, and AK 47 (Brazil).

“Nothing could have prepared us for the loss of 11 years of work overnight. I’m yet to understand why we were not given a chance to save our works,” MERES told ANIMAL.

(Photo: Pat Cartelli)