Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A federal judge has ruled that real estate developer Jerry Wolkoff must pay $6.7 million to 21 graffiti artists whose artwork, painted on the exterior of #5Pointz in Long Island City, Queens was whitewashed without notification in 2013.

The judge wrote in an opinion that the owner acted willfully when he destroyed their art, thereby violating the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA), which gives artists limited rights over paintings they no longer own. The final ruling set a huge precedent for the protection of graffiti art, as a visual art form of recognized stature. We applaud this ruling as we have personally documented graffiti art in New York City since 1996 and discovered that the graffiti we were photographing disappeared quickly and was often painted over by rivals or "buffed' by the City.

It was amazing to us that the artists would take the time and energy to create these works of art only to have them disappear days later. This was what prompted us to try and contact the artists themselves and find out the story behind their art. We completed and published our first book on the subject "Broken Windows: Graffiti NYC" in 2002. We have always hoped that our photographs and interviews with the artists will help preserve this vibrant artistic movement and bring awareness to the importance of creating art for art's sake.

For more of our photography from #5POINTZ: https://www.facebook.com/pg/brokenwindowsgraffitinyc/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2052224778136202

To hear more about our connection with the art form of graffiti and how we first became interested in documenting storefronts and the #disappearingfaceofnewyork please join us for a book signing and conversation with us this Friday, February 16th from 4:30-6 pm at the Wynwood Walls Shop in front of the Okuda Wall at @wynwoodwallsofficial located at 2520 NW 2nd Avenue near NW 26th Street in the Wynwood Arts District of Miami. Admission is FREE and books will be available for purchase including copies of our newly released “Store Front II-A History Preserved” as well as copies of our #nyc #graffitiart book “Broken Windows: Graffiti NYC”.

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