Five Points NYC Tear Down

Last week, in New York, the work of hundreds of artists was destroyed (literally painted over) in one single night. Why didn’t you hear more about this seemingly huge tragedy in the art world? Because it was the graffiti on the buildings known as “5 Pointz” in Queens that was whitewashed from top to bottom in the course of one evening, and not some sort of coordinated attack on exhibits at the Met.

View_of_5_Pointz,_January_20,_2013

(image via Wikipedia)

The whitewashing was done by developers who have plans to demolish the buildings later this year and put up apartments instead. Although their plans have been public knowledge for a while, a coalition of local artists and street artists from around the world had recently sought to stop them by attempting to get the buildings named a public landmark. By wiping out the art in question, the developers effectively took the whole question off the table.

They also wiped out hundreds of individuals works by unknown and world-renowned street artists alike. There was an immediate public outcry in reaction to the painting Twitter and blogs across the net. Those who had hoped to at least preserve the works of art with high quality photography before the demolition are all in shock. Some have called it one of the biggest single losses of art in history.

800px-5_Pointz_Building_Rear_View

(image via Wikipedia)

I am sure there are those who will say it is an improvement to the neighborhood. That the graffiti was unsightly and the building a bad use of public space. But I can’t hep but side with those who had at least hoped to preserve the building in pictures. Frankly, I wonder why the developer didn’t offer to take on that project as an effort to extend a hand to those who were opposed to their project? Either way, it’s somewhat shocking to know that something that so many people poured their artistic effort into was wiped off the map in one night.

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