The legendary 5Pointz Aerosol Art Museum in New York was a destination for graffiti fans from around the world. After owners of the building essentially ignored the pleas of artists to work together and preserve some of the work by painting over them months before clearing permits, a judge has awarded nearly two dozen graffiti artists $6.7 million.
In a dramatic conclusion to a landmark case, a judge has ruled that a New York developer must pay $6.7 million to a group of graffiti artists to compensate for painting over their work without warning in 2013. The decision represents a decisive victory for street artists in a case that pitted their rights against those of a real estate executive.
The artists sued the developer, Gerald Wolkoff, for violating their rights after he whitewashed their work at the famous 5Pointz art mecca in Long Island City to make way for condos. A jury ruled in favor of the artists in November, but it remained up to a judge to determine the extent of the damages.
In a 100-page decision handed down today, Judge Frederic Block awarded $150,000 for each of the 45 works for a total award of $6.75 million.
Judge Block praised the artists for their professionalism and artwork, saying that building owner Jerry Wolkoff didn’t honor his promise or the permit procedure that could have allowed for artists to recover their work. The judge notes that artists from all walks of life, some even professionally trained, put up works at 5Pointz that are now gone forever.
A tweet from the 5Pointz Twitter simply read, “justice prevails! 5pointz4eva!” with a number of retweets that followed.