Graffiti and The Visual Arts Rights Act
In the Beginning
From a simple magic marker tags to colorful and stunning murals on buildings, trains, and walls, graffiti has come a long way since its inception. By its very nature, graffiti is an inseparable part of hip-hop culture. There are some who consider this form of art a menace and in some states, it is even illegal to paint graffiti on public or private property. But, this has never stopped graffiti artists to show the world their marvelous work.
Meres One, one of the most reputed aerosol artists, is known around the globe as the curator of 5 Pointz. His iconic light bulb art is iconic in the art world. But 5 Pointz was the turning point in graffiti art and for graffiti artists. Dubbed as the world’s premier graffiti mecca, because it attracted graffiti artists from around the world who painted legally and pushed the limits of the craft.
Visual Artist Rights Act
The developer who wished to construct luxury rentals in Lieu of The graffiti Mecca whitewashed this living and breathing graffiti art museum (5 Pointz), despite the efforts of Meres One and 21 artists to preserve and document their art. The artists invoked VARA (Visual Artists Rights Act). VARA protects the author and its artwork as long as it is created legally and that authorship can be proved.
Unfortunately, the developer destroyed 5 Pointz, whitewashed it completely before demolishing the building 14 months later. Following the loss of the art and of the venue, 21 artists embarked in a 5 years legal battle which is still ongoing with the appeal starting. The Judge and the jury sided with the law and felt the landlord was guilty and liable for the destruction of the art. Yet the defendant is appealing the court decision.
In the Meantime Meres one started 5pointzcreates, honoring the spirit of 5 Pointz and proving that you cannot whitewash the people. 3 years ago an Amsterdam based brand, known as citizen M approached Meres and co-founder Marie Cecile Flageul wishing to bring a little bit of 5 Pointz back in NYC
CitizenM / MOSA
Bowery’s new CitizenM Hotel is now home to the new Museum of Street Art or MOSA. The museum spams 21 stories of the 300-room hotel’s stairwell and has tapped former 5 Pointz spokeswoman Marie Flageul as its curator. Flageul and Meres One commissioned 24 artists who once painted at 5 Pointz to fill the vertical museum with portraits, calligraffiti, collages, and more. This permanent exhibit entirely founded by Citizen M is open 7 days a week to the public for free. The partnership between Citizen M and 5 Pointzcreates is a beautiful collaboration between two entity dedicated to giving more public art to the world.
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