Any fan of street art or graffiti understands the importance of 5 Pointz in the global art narrative, but we'll give you a little rundown if you need a reminder: The space was first established as the Phun Phactory in 1993 by Pat DiLillo to discourage graffiti vandalism and get artists to show their work in a more formal setting. It had become a space where graffiti artists could freely display their work. The name 5 Pointz is supposed to symbolize the five New York boroughs coming together as one but, its popularity has expanded to artists, both underground and well-established, from all around the globe. Now, the abandoned factory is owned by Jerry and David Walkoff.
Despite the cultural popularity of 5 Pointz, the New York City Planning Commission unanimously voted on August 21, 2013 to build condos on the site. They plan to include two residential towers with retail space and affordable housing. The plan of the developer, David Wolkoff, is to demolish 5 Pointz by the end of 2013, but the process of destruction has already started. On October 9, 2013, the New York City Council approved the $400 million plan to build a 1,000-unit apartment complex with 210 affordable housing units. The plan calls for 10,000-square-feet exclusively for art panels and walls in the building, which will probably be street art inspired.
As if people weren't already upset about the future demolition of 5 Pointz, the vibrantly colored walls were unexpectedly white-washed last night. People on their morning 7 train commute, who view the site every morning, were shocked to find the abandoned factory covered in white paint, while the rest of the world found out through the Internet's fiery reactions to the mishap.
We find it redundant to paint over a building that will be demolished and, according to Hyperallergic, the Walkoffs painted over the art without any legal permissions to do so. 5 Pointz has played a significant role in the culture of street art, hip-hop, and New York City as a whole, and the reactions on the Internet have proven how much it means to people (not just Banksy, who put up his last "Better Out Than In" piece in New York there). This marks the end of an era for outdoor art, but hopefully it will ignite a reaction that encourages others to see art and real estate as culture and not solely as capital.