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Developers lose appeal at a $ 6.7 million prize for graffiti artists whose work was destroyed in New York

Developers have lost an appeal for $ 6.7 million awarded to graffiti artists whose work they have destroyed to make way for luxury apartments in New York.

A federal court of appeal confirmed the decision of 2018 by a judge that the spray paintings of 21 artists were ‘erroneously and intentionally’ destroyed.

The 2nd American Circuit Court of Appeals concluded on Thursday that a judge was right to award the damage to developers who destroyed the aerosol artwork in 2013.

The artists said in a statement that they were “grateful and humble by the rule of today.”

The court of appeal said the action violated the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act, which protects art that has received recognition.

The Long Island City, Queens, known as 5Pointz graffiti site, was a tourist attraction that attracted thousands of spectators every day and formed the backdrop for the 2013 movie, “Now You See Me.”

Many of the artworks were temporary.

The 2nd American Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that a judge was right to award damages to developers who had destroyed the aerosol artworks in 2013

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that a judge was right to award damages to developers who had destroyed the aerosol artworks in 2013

People explore the exterior of the 5 Pointz building, a milestone in the graffiti scene in New York that attracted artists from all over the world

People explore the exterior of the 5 Pointz building, a milestone in the graffiti scene in New York that attracted artists from all over the world

People explore the exterior of the 5 Pointz building, a milestone in the graffiti scene in New York that attracted artists from all over the world

Before and after: Graffiti on 5Pointz in New York in 2013 (below) before it was painted over by developers (above)

Before and after: Graffiti on 5Pointz in New York in 2013 (below) before it was painted over by developers (above)

Before and after: Graffiti on 5Pointz in New York in 2013 (below) before it was painted over by developers (above)

A federal court of appeal confirmed the decision of 2018 by a judge that the spray paintings of 21 artists were 'erroneously and intentionally' destroyed

A federal court of appeal confirmed the decision of 2018 by a judge that the spray paintings of 21 artists were 'erroneously and intentionally' destroyed

A federal court of appeal confirmed the decision of 2018 by a judge that the spray paintings of 21 artists were ‘erroneously and intentionally’ destroyed

The historic graffiti mecca 5 Pointz is seen after it was painted over by developers in 2013

The historic graffiti mecca 5 Pointz is seen after it was painted over by developers in 2013

The historic graffiti mecca 5 Pointz is seen after it was painted over by developers in 2013

“Street art,” a large part of which is “temporary,” has grown into an important category of contemporary art in recent years, “said the 2nd circuit in a recommendation from Barrington D. Parker.

The decision noted that the street artist Banksy alongside former President Barack Obama and the deceased Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs has appeared on Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

“A Banksy painting at 5Pointz would have had recognized status, even if it was temporary,” said the court of appeal.

Marie Cecile Flageul, a curator who has collaborated with the 21 artists who will share the prize, said the money would be shared among artists in the US, Australia, Japan, Brazil and Colombia.

She said the appeal’s judgment showed how far graffiti has come from the 1970s when many artists used it to express their anger.

“Now it is a validated art form that is collected, acquired and exhibited in museums and galleries around the world,” she said.

A federal court of appeal confirmed the decision of 2018 by a judge that the spray paintings of 21 artists were 'erroneously and intentionally' destroyed

A federal court of appeal confirmed the decision of 2018 by a judge that the spray paintings of 21 artists were 'erroneously and intentionally' destroyed

A federal court of appeal confirmed the decision of 2018 by a judge that the spray paintings of 21 artists were ‘erroneously and intentionally’ destroyed

The 5 Pointz building was a milestone in New York's graffiti scene and attracted artists from all over the world

The 5 Pointz building was a milestone in New York's graffiti scene and attracted artists from all over the world

The 5 Pointz building was a milestone in New York’s graffiti scene and attracted artists from all over the world

She said that New York, Paris and London real estate entities are now looking for ways to preserve graffiti art.

Since 2002, the walls on the 5Pointz site have contained more than 10,000 works of art, because some views were temporary and were eventually painted over with the permission of the artists.

In 2013, developers who wanted to take advantage of the rebirth of a once crime-stricken neighborhood destroyed the artwork after they had banned artists from the area and refused to let them recover work that could be removed.

After artists filed a complaint, US District Judge Frederic Block in Brooklyn concluded that the artworks reflected “striking technical and artistic mastery and vision that is worth displaying in prominent museums, if not on the walls of 5Pointz.”

Before and after: Graffiti on 5Pointz can be seen in August 2013 (below) before it is painted over by developers in November 2013 (above)

Before and after: Graffiti on 5Pointz can be seen in August 2013 (below) before it is painted over by developers in November 2013 (above)

Before and after: Graffiti on 5Pointz can be seen in August 2013 (below) before it is painted over by developers in November 2013 (above)

The judge made the price higher than would otherwise have been the case after concluding that the destruction of the art was useful because the artists did not get the three months that the law allows to save their artworks.

He said that 45 of the 49 paintings were recognized works of art were “erroneously and intentionally destroyed” by a ruthless landlord.

Twenty-one aerosol artists had sued the owner of a Long Island City, Queens, site known as 5Pointz under the Visual Rights Act, a 1990 federal law protecting the rights of artists, even if someone else possesses the physical artwork.

Their graffiti was repainted in 2013 and the buildings were demolished a year later.

Before they disappeared, the graffiti artworks became a tourist attraction, attracting thousands of spectators every day and forming a background for the 2013 Now You See Me film and a site for an Usher tour, the judge noted.

All the while, the crime-stricken neighborhood gradually improved and became “the largest collection of high-quality aerosol art in the open air,” although a system set up by the artists meant that some paintings were temporary, while others were given permanent status, Block wrote.

A mural by The Notorious B.I.G on 5 Pointz from June 30, 2011 in Long Island City, Queens

A mural by The Notorious B.I.G on 5 Pointz from June 30, 2011 in Long Island City, Queens

A mural by The Notorious B.I.G on 5 Pointz from June 30, 2011 in Long Island City, Queens

The judge said he would not have assessed as much damage if the owner had waited for his permits and the art was demolished 10 months later than he had

The judge said he would not have assessed as much damage if the owner had waited for his permits and the art was demolished 10 months later than he had

The judge said he would not have assessed as much damage if the owner had waited for his permits and the art was demolished 10 months later than he had

The verdict followed a three-week trial when Block said the “respectful, articulated and credible” artists testified about “striking technical and artistic mastery and vision worth displaying in prominent museums, if not on the walls of 5Pointz ‘.

He noted that one artist came from London, another from rural West Virginia, while others were products from prestigious art academies. Some were self-taught.

He said he was impressed by the breadth of the artists’ works and how many works “spoke to the social problems of our time.”

Jerry Wolkoff, who owned the buildings, had admitted that the spray paint artists used the buildings as canvas for decades, but said they always knew they would be demolished someday.

His lawyer, David Ebert, did not immediately respond to a message asking for comment.

The artists had once hoped to purchase the properties before their value rose to more than $ 200 million.

Block said he hoped the prize would set teeth for a federal law that should have prevented Wolkoff from destroying them for at least 10 months when he had all his permits.

Artists could then easily have saved some paintings of siding, plywood or leaf rock before the rollers, sprayers and buckets of white paint arrived.

“Wolkoff in particular has not been repentant. He had several chances to admit that money laundering was a mistake, expressed regret, or suggested that he would do it differently if he had another chance, “Block said.

“Wolkoff doesn’t care. As he testified, “the judge said. ‘The sloppy, half-hearted nature of money laundering made the works easily visible under thin layers of cheap white paint, reminding the plaintiffs of what had happened on a daily basis.

“The mutilated works were visible to millions of people on the passing train.”

Block noticed on Monday that there was no regret from the owner of the warehouse buildings

Block noticed on Monday that there was no regret from the owner of the warehouse buildings

Block noticed on Monday that there was no regret from the owner of the warehouse buildings

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