Some people say that graffiti relieves the drab and often colorless walls of the inner cities. Others say that it marks gang territories. One thing is for sure, it can cost a fortune when it strikes business and property owners, but never quite in the way that it has Queens property owner, Jerry Wolkoff in New York, Queens.
The Maven reports that Federal Judge Frederic Block has ordered Wolkoff “to pay $6.7 million to graffiti artists who tagged his building because he showed no remorse for destroying their work” The ‘work’ was destroyed when he tore down a building that he owned! Pix 11 tells us that the judge feels that remorse should have been shown and that since it was not, money is owed.
Who is this uppity judge on his high horse to tell anyone what they are to feel?
The site was known as 5Pointz and was a spot where artists had been going for years to display their talents since it was an abandoned warehouse. While the artwork was quite an improvement, it was not their land, and they had no right to expect the owner’s kindness to last forever.
It began to be called the “world’s largest collection of quality outdoor aerosol art” and a system was even established to tell which pieces were temporary and which were to remain long-term (on someone else’s property).
It is true that the artists were allowed to paint the building, so they were not criminals in that regard. However, the deed was still Wolkoff’s, the friendly man who allowed the displays and gatherings to happen at all. When it was time to sell for luxury apartments, it was fully his right to do with his property as he saw fit.
The painters “citing the federal Visual Artists Rights Act, which grants artists rights to their work even when somebody else owns it,” and sued. This screed of justice allowed for the artists to demand permission for the owners before their work was leveled.
That seems illogical. By that train of thought, all an artist must do to take possession of property is to use it for his or her art.
“Wolkoff has been singularly unrepentant. He was given multiple opportunities to admit the whitewashing was a mistake, show remorse, or suggest he would do things differently if he had another chance,” the foolhardy judge said. This was done as he demanded that Wolkoff to “pay $6.7 million” for saying that he couldn’t “care less about the art.”
Why does he have to care?
Where in the Constitution does it say that anyone has to care about anyone or anything? We all must live peacefully and infringe upon no one’s rights, but beyond that, our thoughts are to be our own.
This is a very disturbing case that is much larger than the art in question. When our courts can tell us how we must feel, we are becoming a bit too much like North Korea (with their forced crying).
NO ONE should be comfortable with that. Hopefully, the judgement will be appealed and rejected for the idiocy it is.