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Grafitti artists awarded $6.7m in damages after building paints over their "art"

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Grafitti artists awarded $6.7m in damages after building paints over their "art"

Old 02-12-2018, 02:43 PM
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Default Grafitti artists awarded $6.7m in damages after building paints over their "art"

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A New York judge has awarded $6.7 million to graffiti artists who sued after their work was destroyed on buildings torn down to make room for luxury condos.

Federal Judge Frederic Block in Brooklyn noted Monday there was no remorse from the owner of the warehouse buildings.

A group of 21 aerosol artists had sued the owner of a Long Island City, Queens, site known as 5Pointz. Their graffiti was painted over in 2013, and the buildings were torn down a year later.

The ruling followed a three-week trial in November.

The judge said he would not have assessed so much in damages if the owner had awaited his permits and demolished the art 10 months later than he did.

From 1993 until 2013, graffiti artists were allowed to use the building as a canvas, but the owner got the city’s permission to tear 5Pointz down and build 800 luxury condos and 200 affordable units.

Originally a water meter factory, the building was purchased by developer Jerry Wolkoff in the early 1970s. It became known as both a graffiti mecca and artists’ quarters after the last tenant, phonograph needle manufacturer Recoton, moved out, the Village Voice reported.

The building served as a backdrop for movies and music videos – notably including Joss Stone, who filmed her video for “Tell Me ’Bout It” on an exterior staircase in 2006, the newspaper reported.

But three years later, jewelry designer Nicole Gagne was severely injured when the same stairway collapsed, and afterward, the Department of Buildings issued violations and the artists in the studios inside had to leave, the Village Voice reported.

The graffiti on the exterior continued until Wolkoff had the building whitewashed last year. He took heat for the move, but said it was not done maliciously.

Graffiti artists filed a lawsuit claiming that their work was protected under an obscure federal law — The Visual Artists Rights Act, but the court refused to grant an injunction that would have stopped demolition.
http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2018/02/...ntz-destroyed/
Old 02-12-2018, 02:59 PM
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Can you say "Appeal" ?
Old 02-12-2018, 03:04 PM
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NYC. another reason why it sucks so bad.
Old 02-12-2018, 03:05 PM
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These F'in "THUGS" don't deserve a dime !!!
Old 02-12-2018, 03:06 PM
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Complete BS. If they want their "art" to survive they should be responsible for the costs of maintaining the building (retroactively too!).
Old 02-12-2018, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Tommysmicroskiff View Post
These F'in "THUGS" don't deserve a dime !!!
How do you know they are thugs?
Old 02-12-2018, 03:10 PM
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That article is a joke. There have to be many more, very important details in order for a judge to make such a decision. Clickbait.
Old 02-12-2018, 03:48 PM
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They were throwing "Gang Signs" in the video and the art is crap

I see better stuff on trains !!! LoL
Old 02-12-2018, 04:48 PM
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I hope that's a joke
Old 02-12-2018, 07:22 PM
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Having to wait an additional 10 months on an 800 unit development project it was worth the risk for the developer.

So much new construction is going on around here murals (one common these or picture not a bunch of tags)are getting covered up weekly.

Judgement is reticule is but until all the facts are know hard to see the revelance. Sounds like he needed neighborhood approval but said F it tear it down anyway.
Old 02-12-2018, 07:47 PM
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I worked about a block from there for over 20 years, passing it at least twice a day. It really was "art" and we were astonished when it was painted over as it was a neighborhood icon. Pretty good dive bar was next door which closed as the owner forced them out of their lease around the same time.

5pointz was in the movie "Now you see me". A lot of tv shows and movies were filmed in the area and 5pointz was in many a scene.
Old 02-12-2018, 08:30 PM
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If that’s true, that a crock of bs. Vandals should be the ones being fined.
Old 02-12-2018, 10:39 PM
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It is lucky that I wasn't on that jury because I think that I forgot my sympathy in my other pants.

Maybe I will change my mind if someone can articulate why that "art" is to be celebrated in the first place.
Old 02-13-2018, 04:34 AM
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If you can't see the artistry in some of the works then there's no explaining it to you. That being said, the story leaves me with questions. Did the owner allow the graffiti? What is the legal standing of the artists? How did the judge come to the $6.7 million figure? How does that get equitably distributed? Does the common tagger get the same amount as the muralist? Using the premature tear down as an excuse seems like a bit of BS from the judge. If it's a violation of code or ordinance, why would he award more money to the plaintiffs? Shouldn't that go to the city (if anyone)?

They don't own the property so I can't see how they can gain financially from this. It's not like someone came into their home and ripped a canvas down.

In the end, artistic or not, based on the story, I can't see the reason for the judgement.
Old 02-13-2018, 05:04 AM
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Some notes:

The building's owner approved its use as a legal space for graffiti art in the 90's as a way to lend credibility to the art side of a movement most often associated with vandalism.

That same owner specified strict rules for the art displayed there, specifically that it not display any gang-related symbols. If any of the resident artists work was found anywhere else illegally, their work at this building would be immediately removed.

The artists paid rent for studio space in the building, and use of the building.

The cliff's notes of the Visual Artists Rights Act is that a commissioner of a piece of artwork meeting specific conditions, cannot destroy, mutilate, or distort an artistic work without the consent of the author, or in this case without giving adequate notice. If you commission a piece of qualifying artwork you can't destroy it, even if you own it, without a waiver.

When public sculptures are commissioned, most cities and municipalities require these waivers as a condition of commission. Otherwise the city's rights would be limited with regard to future removal of the sculpture.

Last edited by WalkingTheDocks; 02-13-2018 at 05:14 AM.
Old 02-13-2018, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by WalkingTheDocks View Post
Some notes:

The building's owner approved its use as a legal space for graffiti art in the 90's as a way to lend credibility to the art side of a movement most often associated with vandalism.

That same owner specified strict rules for the art displayed there, specifically that it not display any gang-related symbols. If any of the resident artists work was found anywhere else illegally, their work at this building would be immediately removed.

The artists paid rent for studio space in the building, and use of the building.

The cliff's notes of the Visual Artists Rights Act is that a commissioner, even if you're the owner of a piece of art work, cannot destroy, mutilate, or distort an artistic work without the consent of the author, or in this case without giving adequate notice. If you commission a piece of artwork you can't destroy it, even if you own it, without a waiver.

When public sculptures are commissioned, most cities and municipalities require these waivers as a condition of commission. Otherwise the city's rights would be limited with regard to future removal of the sculpture.
Wouldn’t commissioning artwork gave to have a scope beyond allowing a place for it to be placed?

Seems as though a guy was trying to be nice, and the folks he was being nice to went and got full fledged entitled on his customer.
Old 02-13-2018, 05:19 AM
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Originally Posted by autobaun70 View Post
Wouldn’t commissioning artwork gave to have a scope beyond allowing a place for it to be placed?

Seems as though a guy was trying to be nice, and the folks he was being nice to went and got full fledged entitled on his customer.
You can read it in better detail, but the way I understand it, because the work and site met the requirements for public art protected under the VARA, the developer had to follow the rules and didn't.

He was paid for their use of the building so he wasn't just being nice, and I don't consider exercising your legal rights "entitled".
Old 02-13-2018, 05:23 AM
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That's TOTAL BS !!! If I had the $$$ I would commission a work just so I COULD destroy it !!! it's my F'in $$$ !!!

...cannot destroy, mutilate, or distort an artistic work without the consent of the author, or in this case without giving adequate notice. If you commission a piece of qualifying artwork you can't destroy it, even if you own it, without a waiver.
Old 02-13-2018, 05:31 AM
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Stupid

They vandalize someone's property and they're the ones this court sides with. So if some "artist" decides to deface my home I need their permission to fix it? I would ask who appoints these judges but that's fairly obvious.
Old 02-13-2018, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by mikefloyd View Post
Stupid

They vandalize someone's property and they're the ones this court sides with. So if some "artist" decides to deface my home I need their permission to fix it? I would ask who appoints these judges but that's fairly obvious.
It wasn't vandalism.

You don't need permission to fix your vandalized home because that's not a qualifying piece of artwork under VARA.

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