Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Starting with the news that the iconic graffiti-covered warehouse known as 5Pointz in Long Island City, Queens, visible from passing trains since its beginnings the 1990s as an artists’ studio and exhibition space, was being razed and replaced by rental apartments, the building has been the subject of heated controversy. As 6sqft previously reported, in 2013 the complex was whitewashed of its colorful exterior murals under cover of night, and renderings surfaced for the rental towers that would replace it; as if to add insult to injury, the building’s owner, Jerry Wolkoff of G&M Realty, revealed plans to use the name 5Pointz as a marketing angle for the new development. Several attempts were made at intervention–and prevention of a similar fate for artists’ spaces since then. Now, the New York Times reports, a federal lawsuit filed by 23 5Pointz artists against Wolkoff, who ordered the art destroyed, is getting its day in court. On March 31, Judge Frederic Block of Federal District Court in Brooklyn ruled that the federal lawsuit against Wolkoff, who ordered the artwork destroyed–could have a jury trial, an incremental legal victory for the artists and a chance to confront Wolkoff in court to seek redress.