Demolition Of An Art Form: 5 Pointz

5POINTZ, Graffiti, NYC, Art, Artform, Jerry Wolkoff, David Wolkoff, Phun Phactory, Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Japan, Brazil, USA, Meres, Pat DiLillo, Graffiti Terminators

The building known as 5Pointz (45–46 Davis Street) was an American outdoor art exhibit space in Long Island City in Queens, New York, considered to be the world’s premiere “graffiti mecca”, where aerosol artists from around the globe painted colorful pieces on the walls of a 200,000-square-foot. Writers from Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Japan, Brazil, and all over the United States have painted on the building walls, including Stay High 149, Tracy 168, Cope2, Part, SPE, and TATS CRU.

It was originally constructed, in 1892 for Neptune Meter, as a factory for the construction of water meters. The property was bought in the 1970s by Jerry Wolkoff, who did not have immediate plans for redevelopment. Wolkoff was approached in the 1990s, and gave his permission, for the factory to be used for legal graffiti work. The site was first established as the Phun Phactory in 1993 by Pat DiLillo under a program called Graffiti Terminators to discourage graffiti vandalism by encouraging artists to display their work in a formal showcase.

In 2002, Jonathan Cohen, a graffiti artist operating under the name “Meres” began curating the work. If he is not familiar with an artist, Cohen will ask for a sample of their work; if it is a mural, he will ask for a layout as well. The name 5Pointz signifies the five boroughs coming together as one but, because of its reputation as an epicenter of the graffiti scene, the industrial complex has actually united aerosol artists from across the world.

Here is a gallery of some of the photos I took when the wall was painted white overnight as well as today during demolition.

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In April 2009, the New York City Buildings department ordered the largest building closed after citing it for numerous building deficiencies including the studio partitions which were built without permits. The inspections followed an incident on April 10, 2009, in which an artist was injured when part of a concrete fire escape collapsed.

The building, once an internationally recognized haven for street artists, had already been mostly whitewashed last year but the demolition is the final nail in its coffin. The property will be replaced with two luxury apartment towers — one 47-stories high, the other 41 stories — with a total of 1,100 apartments. And 20 percent of the units will be designated affordable.

What do you think of the demolition of 5Pointz? Let us know in the comments section below.

One Comment Add yours

  1. tara pittman says:

    The building is unsafe and a new building will help people.


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