A warehouse building at Davis Street in Long Island City, called 5Pointz, was once well known for its graffiti art by aerosol artists. Featured in movies and music videos, one could argue it was quite the NYC landmark.
However, in 2013 after nearly 20 years of the various artwork being displayed on the building, developer Gerald Wolkoff whitewashed the building. Erasing all the artwork at once.
After that, the artists sued the developer and this week the judge made his decision in the case. According to ArtNet, “Judge Frederic Block awarded $150,000 for each of the 45 works for a total award of $6.75 million.”
Of the whitewashing incident in particular, Judge Block stated:
“If not for Wolkoff’s insolence, these damages would not have been assessed. If he did not destroy 5Pointz until he received his permits and demolished it 10 months later, the Court would not have found that he had acted willfully.”
This is a big win for artists everywhere.