Friday Foto: 5Pointz, Queens

A recent article in the New York Times: Writing’s onthe Wall (Art Is, Too, for Now)*, took me back to my 2008 visit to New York City. It was a beautiful spring dayin early April when I headed out to visit the Museum of Modern Art offshootknown as PS1 in Long Island City, Queens. It was herethat I discovered the amazing 5Pointz Arts Center.

The five story 5Pointz building is now pretty much all butderelict following the collapse of a fire escape in 2009 that seriously injureda jewellery artist who worked in the building at the time. Never the less, thebuilding has become famous for the hundreds of graffiti art works that coverthe façade of the building.

According to the New York Times article, Jonathan Cohen, aka‘meresone’, has been managing the site since 2001, although it is not clearfrom the article if that is when the graffiti art began to be added to thebuilding.

Apart from the many New York artists that have added theirwork to the 5Pointz building, artists from all over the USA, as well as fromFrance, Australia, Spain and elsewhere have also contributed to the site. Thebuilding is mentioned in some foreign guidebooks and it has become a touristattraction in its own right, and is well worth a look if you have the time tofit it into your New York visit.

While tagging is illegal in New York, it appears to bepermitted if a building’s owner gives the Ok for a work of graffiti art to bepainted on their structures. Permission to use the warehouse as a giant canvashas long been granted by the owner, Jerry Wolkoff, who also rented out studiospace until the afore mentioned accident in 2009.

Now however, Mr. Wolkoff wants to raze the building to makeway for two 30-story apartment towers. As you might imagine, graffiti artistsare not happy with this decision, and a campaign is underway to preserve thebuilding at 45-46 Davis Street, and convert into affordable art space for manyof New York City’s artists and craftspeople. While I wish them luck with theircampaign, I have a feeling that commerce will eventually win out, and thisincredible building and its unique works of graffiti art, will eventually onlyexist online.

*Note: Articles in the New York Times are eventually onlyaccessible via paid subscription. While the article referred to above wasviewable when I wrote this entry, it may no longer be so.

Click here to see a New York Times slide show ofimages from the 5Pointz building.

The 5Pointz site alsofeatures many images of the graffiti art.

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About Jim Lesses

Jim Lesses is a semi-retired Australian musician, blogger and photographer trying to live up to his personal motto: Love The Life You Live, by travelling on extended journeys as often and for as long as he can. As a solo traveller, Jim has taken himself on two round the world trips since 2008, and is planning his next journey for 2012.
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