5Pointz developer blocked again from razing graffiti site

TRD New York /
Oct.October 30, 2013 01:11 PM

A judge’s temporary restraining order barring G&M Realty’s Jerry and David Wolkoff from demolishing the 5Pointz graffiti site has been extended for an additional 14 days.

The move, which blocks owner Jerry Wolkoff from acting through Nov. 10, comes as Judge Frederic Block called for a hearing to determine whether he should issue a preliminary injunction that would prevent the developer from altering the building until a lawsuit brought by a group of 16 artists is resolved, the LIC Post reported.

The suit, which claims that the site contains over 350 original works of graffiti art worth saving, cites copyright law and the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act, which affords the creators copyright protection in their works regardless of who owns the physical space on which the work is created.

According to Jeannine Chanes, attorney for the artists, the artwork should fall under VARA, since it was finished post-1990. She claims the work can only be changed with each artist’s consent. Wolkoff’s attorneys, conversely, have argued that the artists should have expected the site to be torn down eventually and had no reason to believe the art would be in place permanently.

The Wolkoffs did not respond to the LIC Post’s request for comment. [LIC Post]Julie Strickland

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