Graffiti Artists Awarded $6.7 Million for Destruction of 5Pointz Murals in Queens
A group of New York City-based Graffiti artists have just secured a huge W for the culture.
On Monday (Feb. 12), a Federal judge in Brooklyn ruled that the famed street artwork plastered across the 5Pointz complex in Long Island City, Queens was artistically significant enough to be protected by law, awarding a judgment of $6.7 million to the 21 artists who had their art erased from the side of the building in 2013.
According to The New York Times, the trial for the case, which was the artists versus real estate developer Jerry Wolkoff, came to a close last November. At the time, a civil jury ruled that Wolkoff, who owned the complex, had broken the law when he had all of the artists artwork whitewashed from the wall of the building.
Wolkoff's lawyer argued that his client was allowed to do whatever he wanted to do with the property he owned, but the jury wasn't having it. They found that Wolkoff violated the Visual Artists Rights Act (V.A.R.A.). That particular act stipulates that public artwork that's gained a considerable amount of recognition should be protected—even if it's technically on someone else's property.
Speaking with The Times, Eric Baum, who's acted as a lawyer for the artists involved, declared this legal win “a victory not only for the artists in this case, but for artists all around the country.”
If you're an artist, there's a good shot you agree with him.
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