A Brooklyn jury has found that the New York City real estate developer who tore down the iconic 5POINTZ complex in Queens three years ago broke the law. Along with the buildings that were torn down, nearly 50 colorful murals and pieces of street art were destroyed forever.
21 artists who had their artwork displayed at 5POINTZ over the years joined a lawsuit against the developer, Jerry Wolkoff, arguing that 5POINTZ and its art was protected under the Visual Arts Rights Act, which has been used to protect public art created on someone else’s property that is of “recognized status”.
Mr. Wolkoff is alleged not to have given the artists proper 90-day notice before destroying their work, while the developer’s lawyer argued that the artists had known for years that 5POINTZ was to be developed into luxury apartments at some point and that they themselves had destroyed much more art in constantly changing the murals and graffiti that was on display.
Ultimately, the Brooklyn jury rendered its decision in favor of the artists after three weeks of testimony. The finding will serve only as a recommendation to Judge Block of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn, who will render a final verdict.