5 Pointz: New York Graffiti Mecca

Earlier last week, 5 Pointz was brought up and I would like to further discuss this issue just because I think it’s interesting. For those who don’t know what 5 Pointz is, here’s a link to some pictures and details about 5 Pointz and the related controversy at the time: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/10/11/photos-new-york-s5pointzgraffitimecca.htmlScreen Shot 2013-10-31 at 12.35.08 PM

Personally, I’ve grown up seeing 5 Pointz evolve. Anytime I were to travel to the city, my means of transportation was the 7 train. If you are ever on the 7, you can see that as it emerges from the tunnel into Queens, on your left will be 5 Pointz. If it’s a bright day, the building seems set on a canvas with Manhattan its backdrop. It’s a beautiful and mind blowing sight. I feel that it defines New York City for its creativity and art.

Firstly, would 5 Pointz support the idea that anything anywhere has the potential to be considered art? (Referring back to our essays.)

Do you consider 5 Pointz a cultural and historical part of New York City? Do you think the Walkoffs are being reasonable in wanting to sell the building?

Comment and Share your thoughts! I know there have been updates on the issue, so someone can share that too.

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2 Responses to 5 Pointz: New York Graffiti Mecca

  1. richard blot says:

    Hi Gurprit,

    Thanks for posting about 5 Pointz. As you can see from the revised course schedule below we are planning to discuss VARA and 5 Pointz in class on November 21st. With your link there should be much information to be gleaned by students before that date.

  2. Ruby Cabuya says:

    Urban art brings out my passion of New York City!

    Passing 5 Pointz on the 7 train has always been a vital part of my intercity commute. To ride past the regular cityscapes of Queens (brick buildings, 2-year old billboards, tattered small business awnings below), and then to see the “graffiti mecca” of New York City, possibly of even the world, is an astonishing sight. The bright colors and symbols of urban culture dominate the faces of the building; it is more than just someone’s defacement on the brick walls of someone else’s property. The art featured on the walls definitely follow an “aesthetic attitude”, being that people choose to have a set frame of mind in observing this urban art over an unusual canvas. 5 Pointz can be appreciated for “its own sake”, meaning that it exists because certain street artists chose for their pieces of art to exist on the walls of the 5 Pointz property. It is already there, so why not appreciate it…with an aesthetic attitude?
    Are the illustrations and writings at 5 Pointz considered art? According to Richard Anderson in American Muse: Anthropological Excursions into Art and Aesthetics , “things will be considered to be art to the extent which they are: artifacts of human creation;created through the exercise of exceptional physical, conceptual, or imaginative skill;produced in a public medium;intended to affect the senses; andseen to share stylistic conventions with similar works” The art at 5 Pointz follows this criteria, as they were created by humans (for example, some works of art are depictions of people, and people love to create images of other people). The urban-style art is influenced throughout the building; it is not likely one will see a Classical-style painting, chiaroscuro and all, upon the brick walls of 5 Pointz. It reflects the current imaginative stimuli; it is art for the young people, by the young people. It is produced in a more-than public medium, which in fact “public” would be an understatement of the nature of the art at 5 Pointz (it’s on the walls of a building, for crying out loud). Most of all, it stimulates the senses, and allows the audience of the art to fully bask in the “art of the now”, what each artist intended to put on the wall and why he or she chose that symbolism.
    VARA (the Visual Artists Rights Act) is a federal law established in 1990, protecting the content of visual artists, both commercial and amateur. It states that artists have “right to claim ownership” of their works; “The modification of a work of visual art which is the result of conservation, or of the public presentation, including lighting and placement, of the work is not a destruction, distortion, mutilation, or other modification…unless the modification is caused by gross negligence…”meaning that the artwork can be changed or moved and won’t be considered vandalism to the art, but completely wiping it out is not included within these parameters.
    As of November 19, 2013, parts of the building have been completely whitewashed with the permission of the NYPD. This was a result of the three-day hearing beginning on November 6, 2013. The hearing reportedly did not go well for urban art lovers, as David Wolkoff, prospective developer of the 5pointz site and son of 5pointz owner Jerry Wolkoff, was approved of his plan to use the land to build a high-rise apartment.
    To some, this may seem as a defeat and great loss of urban culture. What was once the great “graffiti mecca” of the world, a famous tribute to street art, is now going to be another banal structure obstructing the view of the Manhattan skyline from part of Western Queens.

    I’ve included a photo (hopefully you are able to see it, as I have pulled it from Facebook) of a time my friend and I visited 5pointz. At the time, it was as if we were part of the hipster crowd, going to take pictures with graffiti in the background for an urban-style Facebook profile picture. Experiencing it had more meaning than that. It was a sort of art museum; you had to stand back at some of the wall paintings and really gaze into the art. Each one had a different tone, a different flavor of city culture. It was cliche to think of it that way, but it was almost as if the artist wanted you to think that way. He or she wanted to welcome you into his or her city.
    I had just come from dance class and my friend had the inspiration to include me into this wall with the lizard. He said “it’s almost as if the lizard is watching you dance.”

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