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Banksy: The Latest Architecture and News

How Developers Turned Graffiti Into a Trojan Horse For Gentrification

It happened in the middle of the night: the stealth whitewashing of 5Pointz, Long Island City's unofficial graffiti museum. In 2013 owner Jerry Wolkoff, of G&M Realty, wanted the building razed in order to erect new luxury condominiums, and the artists sued to preserve their work. A judge denied the artists' request and Wolkoff had the murals destroyed under cover of darkness, ostensibly to prevent them from attaining landmark status. Though graffiti was born as a subversive act, these artists had painted with Wolkoff's permission since 1993 and had turned the warehouse into “the world's premiere graffiti mecca” and the largest legal aerosol art space in the United States. This was a serious betrayal.