5 Pointz: Before and After the Whitewashing

Categories: Graffiti

C.S. Muncy
For the second time this week supporters and artists gathered at 5 Pointz in Long Island City, but rather than to rally for a last-ditch fight against the developers trying to raze the building, the crowd was there to mourn. In the middle of the night and with police protection, workers painted over nearly every single piece of art on both the outside and interior of the building.

Marie Cecile Flageul, one of the leading voices of 5 Pointz, found out about the whitewashing through a phone call at 6 a.m. Racing out of her home, she and curator Meres One were detained and temporarily prevented from entering the premises. "The police here were under the impression that we weren't allowed to be in the loading dock," Flageul said at the rally later that evening. "I didn't have my ID, no socks, no underwear ... I just ran out of my house." After their attorney called the precinct, she and One were released and allowed access, but at that point there was little to be done. "This is Wolcoff's masterpiece, " she said through her tears.

See Also: The Community Mourns the Buffing of 5 Pointz at Tuesday Night's Candlelight Vigil

Longtime 5 Pointz supporter Hans von Rittern found out what happened while on the job. "I've been a tour guide for eight years, and whenever I do tours I never tell them this is going to be a stop," he said. "This morning, I picked up some German guests from the Queen Mary II in Brooklyn. They kept asking, 'Why aren't we going into Manhattan?' I told them, 'No, I've got a surprise for you.' I'm telling the guests how great 5 Pointz is, and my driver starts saying, 'Oh my God, oh my God!' I turn around, and I see the entire building is washed white. I just broke out in tears. The people on the bus couldn't quite understand what they were seeing."

See Also: 5 Pointz Fights for Its Life With Weekend Rally

Throughout the night, supporters brought posters and artwork to hang on the walls and held a candlelight vigil. While a few tagged the walls with paint pens and markers, for the most part, the white paint was left untouched. Meres only allowed a few people into the building, worried that the police might try to make further arrests "on some bullshit charge."

On the following pages, see what 5 Pointz used to look like, contrasted with its now-white walls.

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Some people have interesting ideas about art. An awful lot of that work would have been less amazing (and no more artistic) done with canvas and oils -- and it would have been easier to hoard, shared with fewer people, if it were able to be picked up and stowed away. Is it the fact that they paid for their own supplies and displayed the work for free on a wall instead of in a gallery $20 per head that makes folks look down on it? Because it's not lack of creativity, intricacy, or composition. 

The landlord could have given some warning, let them photograph the work, at the very least, so they could duplicate it elsewhere. He could have told them it needed to come down and let them chip in for removing and replacing the walls to keep the art intact. To simply whitewash over it -- not even ALL the walls, just the art, because apparently splotched white and dingy yellow is better than street art -- makes me hope his next vacation entails a seven-day bout of gastro and single-ply toilet paper.

Willem Powell
Willem Powell

MuthaFuck a 5 Points.....landlord can DO whatever the fuck he/she wants. Spray-paint Your ass.

Dave Cruikshank
Dave Cruikshank

Graffiti folk have funny ideas about private property...at least the landlord let you deface his building for as long he did...revel in that..now it's time for change, they should be happy they got to use the building for free all these years...

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