this has been in the works for quite some time, but it is finally, if not sadly, going to happen. 5 Points, in long island city, queens, NY, is going to be demolished. and in its place: condos, with the promise of walls for writing. we'll see about that.
mindy and i got to spend one afternoon at 5ptz this past summer. you can see pictures from our little adventure here. this is the thing about 5ptz for me: it IS an art museum. and what is not understood, is that while the works on the walls may be temporary, the building itself is what is important. it is the canvas. it is the place. and to remove something like that from a community that treasures it, is just plain sad. and the bone thrown back is the availability of walls for writing. but how free/legal/safe can that possibly be on a clean new condo surface? i understand that the building is structurally deficient, and to fix it, would most likely destroy many of the works (especially on the inside), but is it not worth it? to lose some of the works is ok, street art and graffiti are inherently temporary. but the idea of 5ptz: the continuity of expression, and the idea that this space can be that living, breathing history is the idea under the images. the building itself is that living, breathing, ever-changing work of art. and that idea is about to be long gone. the greatest thing about street art is that no one owns it (until they steal it, vis-a-vie banksy). so, for people who love this type of art, tearing down 5ptz, is the equivalent of burning picasso's guernica or davinci's mona lisa, to make way for giclee prints of each.
local artists (and eventually international artists too) took a dead dilapidated building and transformed it into a shining spectacle of art in NYC. and soon it will be gone. i hope, quite honestly, that the condos they put up are never painted. i hope that the sterility of whatever postmodern structure that goes up will remain. artists will find new places to paint. after all, we don't have to ask permission, we just have to risk arrest.
i'm sad to see that this building is going to be demolished. other spaces have come and gone, but this one has an aura about it. it is something to see. go see it before it's gone. you will be blown away. then it will be blown away.