N.Y. landlord obliterated dozens of graffiti murals. Now he owes the artists $6.75 million.

From the elevated 7-train, millions of people passing through Long Island City, Queens, could spot the massive warehouses. Five stories high, the buildings took up most of a city block. But that’s not the only reason the complex was hard to miss.Its bright yellow walls were covered with hundreds of graffiti murals: colorful bubble letters, fantastical creatures, mesmerizing portraits and tributes to legendary musicians. Known as 5Pointz, it was a graffiti mecca. Aerosol artists would travel from around the world to use its walls as canvasses — legally. Busloads of tourists or students on field trips would frequent 5Pointz on a daily basis. It was used as a backdrop for movies and music videos, weddings and concerts.5Pointz transformed dilapidated warehouses and a previously crime-infested neighborhood into a renowned cultural landmark — the country’s “largest collection of exterior aerosol art,” as a court document noted.Morning Mix newsletterStories that will be the talk of the morning.Sign upVirtually overnight, nearly all of it was destroyed. Under the cloak of night in 2013, the building’s owners instructed a team to blanket the murals with white paint. The warehouses would be torn down a year later to make way for high-rise luxury residences.Artist Akiko Miyakami said that when she saw her artwork mutilated under a layer of white paint, according to a court document, she felt as though she “was raped.”On Monday, a federal judge in Brooklyn awarded $6.75 million in damages to 21 artists whose work at 5Pointz was obliterated.

Source: N.Y. landlord obliterated dozens of graffiti murals. Now he owes the artists $6.75 million. – The Washington Post

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