Under the cover of night on November 19, 2013, painters quietly ran their brushes along exposed brick and concrete walls to cover the 5Pointz building with a slick of white. It was an act that marked the end of a long battle that was fought between the owners of the building and the artists who fought to save it.
The 5 Pointz: Institute of Higher Burnin’ was a former factory space in Queens, New York that was converted by graffiti veteran Jonathan Cohen (“Meres One”) into an outdoor showroom. The purpose of 5 Pointz was to enable artists from around the world to paint/spray/glue their work on any of the factory’s walls and it had over 200,000 sq ft of space up for grabs. For the longest time 5 Pointz was considered to be the world’s foremost mecca for graffiti and street art. It was a place where New York’s five boroughs came together.
Standing five stories high, the amber walls of the factory building were a wildly psychedelic and eye-popping trip, and the building stood out – almost thumbing its nose – against the dour and rigid lines of MoMA PS 1 that sits across the street. While the compositions at 5 Pointz were forever changing, the building had always been place where the ideas and dreamscapes of artists from all over the world (including Canada, Switzerland, France, Brazil, Japan and The Netherlands) came to life.
But that was then. The building that was once awash in colour is now blanketed in white and waits to be torn down.
Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.
Soon enough the demolition team will come to take the former art mecca apart piece by piece. In its wake a 1,000 unit luxury apartment complex (worth $400 million USD) will rise.
Have no fear 5 Pointz. You will be missed, and like how.