Artists grieving over this week’s shocking 5 Pointz whitewash job may find justice in the form of cash damages paid out by building owners Jerry and David Wolkoff. The graffiti mecca was whited out with paint Tuesday morning, stunning the artist community, which had hoped to secure landmark status for the building to protect it against demolition. According to Federal Judge Frederic Block, if a civil jury decides in favor of classifying some of the painted-over art under the U.S. Visual Artists Rights Act, the building owners may be forced to compensate artists for damages.

5 pointz, Federal Judge Frederic Block, Jerry and David Wolkoff, 5 Pointz defenders, graffiti art, graffiti mecca, long island city, Green Mother Earth, lady pink, Jonathan Cohen

Last week, Block rejected the 5 Pointz collective’s attempts to save the building under the Visual Artists Rights Act, which protects works of art that have “recognized stature.” Though the federal judge was unable to issue a temporary injunction in that suit, he warned that a civil jury could decide in favor of the artists after their works were defaced. Block said that at least some of the artworks, such as Lady Pink’s “Green Mother Earth,” could qualify for protection.

A bitter battle has raged between 5 Pointz defenders and the building owners ever since the Wolkoffs’ 2012 announcement that they would tear down 5 Pointz to make way for luxury high-rises. With the permission of Jerry Wolkoff, 5 Pointz curator Jonathan Cohen taped sheets of paper over the painted walls Tuesday afternoon to give the community a canvas to express their thoughts on the controversial issue. Supporters held a candlelight vigil for the iconic building later that night.

Via NY Daily News

Photos ©Yuka Yoneda