The Long Island City Parent’s Group has come up with an interesting proposal for LIC landmark 5 Pointz, the graffiti-covered warehouse its owners plan to demolish, although it’s still unclear what’s going up in its place. The group is proposing that artists bring their graffiti to “the bare grey walls” around P.S. 1, and, well, stop fighting to save the 5 Pointz building altogether. Here’s a good chunk of what they said in their most recent email newsletter:
Was it really necessary that angry activists stop an environmentally conscious developer from building more space for people with jobs, incomes, degrees, and families? Can’t the graffiti move diagonally across the street right onto the walls of another art-friendly building owner, our own MOMA’s P.S. 1? The bare grey walls surrounding P.S. 1 like a proto-Reaganesque Cold War bunker would provide tens of thousands of square feet unadorned by windows and stairs. The hundreds of running feet of concrete walls along Jackson Avenue and 46th Avenue are highly visible to all folks who track to Queens to experience modern art, munch in the M.Wells-managed school cafeteria, and dance (or mostly hang out) at the sultry warm-up parties. Could there be a better synergy than between MOMA’s high concept art and mind-numbing street art of the aerosol kind?
Advice to aerosol activists: advocate as aggressively for the right to splash, splatter, and spray onto the MOMA-walls as you agitated against the development plans. This “concrete” solution would provide a new, better, lasting home for your graffiti: more space, more visibility, more foot traffic and maybe the museum could even carve out some office space for Jonathan Cohen’s graffiti group?
No sane developer will let artists into a building after what happened to the Wolkoff family. They were generous (and a bit clever) by parceling up brittle floors with drafty windows into artist studios and renting the spaces at rates that few real businesses would be willing to pay. But no good deed goes unpunished and the graffiti activists who had used the building facade for free are now paying back their benefactors by blocking the plans and appropriating the building.
I personally know half a dozen owners of commercial loft spaces in Long Island City who will rent to everybody but artists. After what happened to David Wolkoff there will be more.