Daily photographs by HANS VON RITTERN, with humorous, artistic and social commentary on life in the big city.

Posts tagged “street art

Photo of the day: EARLY SUNDAY MORNING IN HARLEM

125th Street, Harlem, 9am

125th Street, Harlem, 9am

Photo of the day: EARLY SUNDAY MORNING IN HARLEM – 125th Street, 9am. This church usherette in her nurses uniform ignores the sinful life of late night Harlem night clubbing portrayed by the great Harlem muralist Franco (Gaskin) the Great as she heads to volunteer at her local Baptist church. It has been a long standing tradition to have nurses serve as usherettes in gospel services just in case one of God’s flock feels the spirit to such a height that they may pass out and faint. Many of my European guests have been bemused by the sight of a nurse greeting you at a church’s entrance, kindly and warmly with a smile. “God bless this Sunday morning, right this way..”
“…I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God….” – Psalms 84: l0b
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Benjamin Franklin

Phot of the day: TWO DAYS TILL “WHITEWASH” April 5, 6-9pm !

TWO DAYS TILL

Photo of the day: TWO DAYS TILL WHITEWASH! – April 5, Saturday, 6-9pm. The Jeffrey Leder Gallery is 1/2 a block down from the Court Street Station on the 7 Train, one train stop away from Queensboro Plaza. I am inviting all my friends to come to see my photos and enjoy a unique New York experience!

Jeffrey Leder Gallery: 2137 45th Road, 2 blocks from 5 Pointz and PSI MOMA.
Long Island City, New York 11101

Gallery 212-924-8944


Photo of the day: THE LAST PICTURE SHOW – Sunday November 17, 2013, 8:24pm

LAST PHOTO©

Photo of the day: THE LAST PICTURE SHOW – Sunday November 17, 2013, 8:24pm is the last time I saw 5 Pointz as it was in it’s glory. In the night of November 18th, owner Jerry “I love graffiti” Wolkoff whitewashed the building to the horror of the art world. Well – we’re BACK with a vengeance! Come to the “Whitewash” art exhibit at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery to mourn the loss and celebrating the perseverance of art.
Curated by Marie Cecile-Flageul. April 5 – June 8, 2014
Opening reception April 5, 6-9pm! Come join me – you’re invited!!
Contributing Artists: Auks, Cortes, Hans Von Rittern, Jerms, Meres One, Orestes Gonzalez, Poem, Shiro, See TF, Topaz, Zimad.

FIVE DAYS TO GO TILL 5 POINTZ EXHIBIT OPENING !
http://www.jeffreyledergallery.com/whitewash.php

You can currently catch my photos on exhibit at The Gold Coast Arts Center “PHO-TO-GRAFFS exhibit

Photo of the day: LAZY SUNDAY AFTERNOON 2011 AT 5 POINTZ – 6 DAYS STILL “WHITEWASH” EXHIBIT

LAZY SUNDAY AUGUST AFTERNOON 2011

Photo of the day: LAZY SUNDAY AFTERNOON 2011 AT 5 POINTZ – 6 DAYS STILL “WHITEWASH” EXHIBIT – Sundays was a day where people from all walks of life would meet a 5 Pointz and stroll around and marvel at phantasmagorical artwork, then go to the art deco dinner across the street enjoy brunch and then perhaps stroll to the waters edge. The waters edge is now built up with glass high rises and 5 Pointz is no more.
5 Pointz will be mourned and celebrated at the ‘Whitewash” exhibit at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery April 5, 2014. Contributing Artists: Auks, Cortes, Hans Von Rittern, Jerms, Meres One, Orestes Gonzalez, Poem, Shiro, See TF, Topaz, Zimad.SIX DAYS TO GO TILL OPENING !
http://www.jeffreyledergallery.com/whitewash.php

You can currently catch my photos on exhibit at The Gold Coast Arts Center “PHO-TO-GRAFFS exhibit

Photo of the day: TOXIC – 7 days till “Whitewash”

TOXIC

Photo of the day:TOXIC From an oasis of creativity to one of the most (literally) toxic places in New York City, 5 Pointz will be mourned and celebrated at the ‘Whitewash” exhibit at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery April 5, 2014. Contributing Artists: Auks, Cortes, Hans Von Rittern, Jerms, Meres One, Orestes Gonzalez, Poem, Shiro, See TF, Topaz, Zimad.
7 days to go!

http://www.jeffreyledergallery.com/whitewash.php


Photo of the day: GET READY TO GET ‘WHITEWASHED’!

10155980_10202678390013798_1003055950_n

We’re getting ready for the Whitewash show opening April 5th 2014 #save5pointz #keepthelighton

 


Photo of the day: MERELY THE BEGINNING!! APRIL 5, 2014, Hans in “Whitewash” exhibit!

Jeffrey Leder Gallery    2137 45th Rd. Long Island City, NY 11101   jeffrey@jeffreyledergallery.com

Jeffrey Leder Gallery 2137 45th Rd. Long Island City, NY 11101 jeffrey@jeffreyledergallery.com

Photo of the day: MERELY THE BEGINNING! APRIL 5, 2014 – I am incredibly proud and joyful to announce I am one of 11 artists asked to be a part of this important exhibit here in Long Island City, New York!! The Jeffrey Leder Gallery (2 blocks from PS1 MOMA) will open with a unique exhibition featuring 9 Graffiti Artists and 2 photographers. These artists have created art that explores their strong reactions to 5 Pointz being whitewashed overnight.

Contributing Artists: Auks, Cortes, Hans Von Rittern, Jerms, Meres One, Orestes Gonzalez, Poem, Shiro, See TF, Topaz, Zimad

Curated by Marie Cecile-Flageul
April 5 – June 8, 2014
Opening reception April 5, 6-9pm! Come join me – you’re invited!!
WW LOGO

“Whitewash, is an answer to the violent act of G&M realty on November 19th, 2013 in Long Island City Queens. Overnight thousands of murals adorning the building known as 5 Pointz were destroyed. It‘s a story of pain, sadness, and anger at times and reflection – An epic of an art community and its home coming apart under the pressure of economical trends and waves of gentrification.
Bringing together a cluster of resident graffiti artists and two Queens photographers, the exhibition enables the artists to express their true feelings and thought process since loosing their work to a white layer of paint, and their home to the pressing demands of real estate development. For the first time since the whitewash we will witness how affected this collective is by being eclipsed from their 11 years home.

The works in Whitewash aspire to such: Laying feelings on canvas, and letting go of the pain, the show brings together artworks that can be interpreted as confession, lessons, or reflection but also aspirations and hopes.

Whitewash is an obvious requiem for 5 Pointz the building but also maybe the beginning of a rebirth of 5 Pointz the community and its true core: the people.“
Marie-Cecile Flageul

http://www.jeffreyledergallery.com/whitewash.php


Photo of the day: “IT’S A VON RITTERN!”

IT'S A VON RITTERN!

Photo of the day: “IT’S A VON RITTERN!” – A very proud Ursula Von Rittern, aka “mom” points to the six photos exhibited in the “PHO-TO-GRAFFS” exhibit that opened this weekend at the Gold Coast Gallery! Great news: I sold some pieces and I am featured in the gallery’s store too!!
Mom checks out 'the Von Ritterns' for sale

Mom checks out ‘the Von Ritterns’ for sale

I’d like to extend my deepest thanks to Marie Flageul and Meres One without whom 5 Pointz would not have been what it is and to their treasured friendship. To Jude Amsel, gallery director of the Gold Coast Arts Center for her kind guidance. To two of my dearest friends who came out to support me, tour guide alums Deborah Blau and especially to Tom Orzo who took the time to drive a very proud and delighted Ursula Von Rittern (not bad for 88 years old, huh?) to her son’s gallery premier. I am a very lucky man.
Deborah Blau, Tom Orzo, Hans Von Rittern and Ursula Von Rittern

Deborah Blau, Tom Orzo, Hans Von Rittern and Ursula Von Rittern

PHO-TO-GRAFFS: March 16 – April 27, 2014 http://www.greatneckarts.org/


Photo of the day: HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY !

SHIRO ST PATS

Photo of the day: HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY !
Art courtesy of SHIRO (Shoko Mikami) of Japan.

Photo of the day: COME TO THE GOLD COAST TODAY !

MEET HANS ROOF

 

Photo of the day: TODAY IS THE DAY! – Opening reception of the PHO-TO-GRAFFS exhibit featuring 9 great photographers documenting the ethereal nature of street art. I am thrilled ot be a part of this exhibit amongst freinds. Come join in the celebration for the opening reception at 3pm today.Now most people think if you leave the 5 boroughs you need a passport – no you don’t. Just 20 minutes by LIRR to Great Neck, Long Island. Hey, it takes longer to get to Brooklyn!

GOLD COAST MAP

113 Great Neck Road. Telephone: 516-829-2570. Here are step by step instructions:

When you get off the train station walk approx. 5 blocks straight down the charming old Americana street of Middle Neck Road, till you get to Maple Drive.

 

Middle Neck Road, main street USA

Middle Neck Road, main street USA

At Maple Drive turn right

At Maple Drive turn right

 

At Maple Drive you make a right and you’ll see the parking lot of the Great Neck Arts Center.

DSC_2950X

And viola – there it is!

The Gold Coast Arts Center

The Gold Coast Arts Center

SEE YOU THERE!


PHO-TO-GRAFFS Photo Exhibit, Gold Coast Gallery, Sunday, March 16, 3pm

MEET HANS

A word from the Gold Coast gallery director Jude Amsel:

Today, the distinctly urban popular culture of graffiti has
been supplanted by the likes of hip-hop, rap concerts, slam poetry performances
and the sub-culture of skateboarding. Due to the impermanent nature of much of
this art, photography has become the primary means of documenting its evolution.
It is the photographer’s goal to record the diversity of the city as a canvas,
the people who create art and the art itself.

These photographers keep urban
culture alive by providing historical documentation for future generations.

A handful of artists/photographers recognized the artistic and social significance
of the hip hop movement. Each of these individuals approached documentation in a
unique way. Through collective efforts, these photographers preserve an
important part of this distinct urban art form. Their photographic record of the
art has not only assisted in the preservation of the culture; it has also aided
in its growth. These photographers go out into the streets and find incredible,
even unlikely places and subjects that have inspired them. We can’t fail to be
inspired as well.

Artists on display: Raymond Hamlin, Orestes Gonzalez ,Norma Hill, Hans Von Rittern, Barry Stern, Farbeon,
Liu Bolin, Rachel Alban, Jay Hirschfeld.

The PHO-TO-GRAFFS exhibit at the Gold Coast Arts Center, this Sunday March 16 opening reception at 3pm! Just 20 minutes from Manhattan by LIRR. 5 blocks from train station, no car necessary :)
113 Middle Neck Road, Great Neck, Long Island. 516-829-2570, see you there !

Photo of the day: THE 5 POINTZ JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE STAMP

HENDRIX STAMP

Photo of the day: THE 5 POINTZ JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE STAMP – Today the US Postal Service releases an awesome Jimi Hendrix postage stamp to commemorate his great music. So, today I am releasing my Hendrix postage stamp commemorating over a decade of great art at the 5 Pointz graffiti and street art museum.
    “White collar conservative flashin’ down the street, pointing that plastic finger at me, they all assume my kind will drop and die, but I’m gonna wave my freak flag high. Excuse me while I kiss the sky.” Jimi Hendrix.
    Come see great street art immortalized at the PHO-TO-GRAFFS exhibit at the Gold Coast Arts Center, this Sunday March 16 opening reception at 3pm! Just 20 minutes from Manhattan by LIRR. 5 blocks from train station, no car necessary. Rock on! 113 Middle Neck Road, Great Neck, Long Island. 516-829-2570, see you there !

Photo of the day: GOOGLE EYES

GOOGLE EYES PRINT collage

Photo of the day: GOOGLE EYES – In 1961 a local photographer asked my mother if he could photograph me because of my big eyes. Fifty years later in 2011 to my surprise, I kinda found myself looking back a me from the walls of the 5 Pointz graffiti and street art museum!
Come see my photos exhibited in the PHO-TO-GRAFFS exhibit at the Gold Coast Arts Center, this Sunday March 16 opening reception at 3pm! Just 20 minutes from Manhattan by LIRR. 5 blocks from train station, no car necessary 🙂
113 Middle Neck Road, Great Neck, Long Island. 516-829-2570, see you there !

Photo of the day: LEARNING TO WRITE

5 Pointz Graffiti Museum

5 Pointz Graffiti Museum

Photo of the day: LEARNING TO WRITE – August 21, 2011 a class of grade school children was brought to the 5 Pointz street art museum and learned about hip hop culture, the history of graffiti art in NYC and then they were shown how to stylize their names. Once they had perfected their names they were allowed to write them on the lids of the dumpsters in the loading dock area, taking great care to leave their new artistic names with pride.
Come see my photos exhibited in the PHO-TO-GRAFFS exhibit at the Gold Coast Arts Center, March 16 opening reception.
113 Middle Neck Road, Great Neck, Long Island. 516-829-2570, see you  there !

Photo of the day: THE DETERMINED PHOTOGRAPHER

October 13, 2013

October 13, 2013

Photo of the day: THE DETERMINED PHOTOGRAPHER – I am going to post vintage photos of the 5Pointz graffiti museum this week, in honor of my upcoming participation in the ‘PHO-TO-GRAFFS’ gallery exhibit opening this Sunday, March 16, 3pm at Gold Coast Arts Center in Great Neck, Long Island.
This photo was taken Sunday afternoon, October 13, 2013, thirty-six days before the unexpected destruction of all the artwork. Little did this aspiring and determined little photographer know, he was capturing a piece if history.

Photo of the day: ZEN TAG

ZEN TAG

Photo of the day: ZEN TAG – Seen in the side streets of the west 50’s in Manhattan, was this service entrance gate to a grocery store. Being so cold outside I was walking at a brisk pace but my eye still caught the Zen Buddha up ahead. But as I passed I noticed something clever. One of the grocery clerks had gotten creative with his pricing gun and created a ‘price sticker Buddha’ and place of Zen in an otherwise dreary garbage filled side alley. Namaste.

Photo of the day: HANS’ EXHIBIT ANNOUNCEMENT at GOLD COAST ARTS CENTER! – March 16, Sunday, 3-6pm !

EXHIBIT HANS VON RITTERN

Photo of the day: HANS’ EXHIBIT ANNOUNCEMENT at GOLD COAST ARTS CENTER!March 16, Sunday, 3-6pm. I will be one of the photographers on exhibit for the “Pho-to-graffs” show – celebrating images of Hip Hop, Graffiti and Urban Culture. I am most honored and very excited to be asked to be a part of this show! Please come and join me to celebrate my fellow artists, friends and me for this colorful explosion! I hope to see you there 🙂
The Gold Coast Arts Center is in Great Neck Long Island, just a 15 minute $22. round trip  away from Manhattan by LIRR. Heck, it takes you longer to get to Brooklyn! COME JOIN US!
The exhibit runs from March 16 to April 27, 2014.
Visiting Gold Coast

Directions

The Great Neck Arts Center is located in Great Neck at 113 Middle Neck Road. Our entrance is through the rear of the building in the northwest corner of the outdoor Maple Drive parking lot (see map). Please note – you cannot enter the Arts Center from Middle Neck Road – you must use the Maple Drive parking lot entrance.

If heading east on Long Island Expressway, take exit 33 and turn north on Lakeville Road. Crossing Northern Blvd. Lakeville Road becomes South Middle Neck Road, then Middle Neck Road. Continue into town, turn right at the 8th traffic light onto Maple Drive. Make your first left into the outdoor Maple Drive parking lot. Entrance to GNAC is in the northwest corner of the lot.

Parking

Pay parking is available in the Village of Great Neck Plaza parking outdoor lot on Maple Drive and in a covered garage across the street. Additional parking is available on the street (hourly and metered). http://www.greatneckplaza.net

Public Transit

The Great Neck Arts Center is served by Nassau County bus line N24 and is accessible from midtown Manhattan via the Long Island Railroad Port Washington Line. http://www.mta.nyc.ny.us/lirr

COME SEE MY PHOTOS ON DISPLAY! ALL  AVAILABLE FOR SALE.

COME SEE MY PHOTOS ON DISPLAY! ALL AVAILABLE FOR SALE.


Photo of the day: STEEL MAGNOLIAS

STEEL MAGNOLIAS

Photo of the day: STEEL MAGNOLIAS – In a city of concrete, steel and rust, surprising flowers bloom.
To quote Aretha’s song, “It’s growing in the street, right up through the concrete, but soft sweet and dreamy.”

Photo of the day: BETWEEN TWO KISSES

BETWEEN TWO KISSES©

Photo of the day: BETWEEN TWO KISSES – Street art collides with pedestrian as seen in midtown Manhattan.

Photo of the day: PERSON(S) OF THE YEAR – DONNY MOSS AND THE TEAM OF JONATHAN MERES (ONE) COHEN AND MARIE FLAGEUL

Donny Moss & Hans, Jonathan Meres Cohen, Marie Flageul

Donny Moss & Hans, Jonathan Meres Cohen, Marie Flageul

Photo of the day: PERSON(S) OF THE YEAR – DONNY MOSS AND THE TEAM OF JONATHAN MERES (ONE) COHEN  AND MARIE FLAGEUL

– I have not ever had such a hard decision to come up with just one person to say they had most affected my life and the lives of the people around them. In such a tumultuous political year it has to be three people, Meres and Marie acting as one force. And by NO means choosing three people does it diminish in any way how important these three powerful people are.

DONNY MOSS:

I feel can be held responsible for almost single handedly destroying the political career of mega powerful New York councilwoman and bully Christine Quinn. She is a bully that represented every horrible thing that Mayor/dictator Bloomberg had done to destroy New York City in his 12 years in office. It is Quinn that alone saw to it that the laws were ‘changed’ so that Bloomberg could run for a third term in 2009 against the will of the people. With that, the slaughter of the middle class and it’s neighborhoods continued. This took New York City from 3 classes of citizens: lower, a strong middle and always upper class to a tapestry of investment bankers, real-estate developers, and Russian oligarchs. Then Donny’s release of a 2009 YouTube video exposing her two-faced betrayal of her own (she’s a lesbian) gay community and her horrific anti-animal rights stances exposed her to New York City. The most important and powerful was his documentary “Christine Quinn – Behind the Smile.” Most people thought Donny was nuts, an animals rights fanatic. Well that changed quickly as his persistent voice released more and more videos and more and more people began to listen.

When Gray Line was forcing the live tour guides (me) out of our jobs in favor of pre-recorded tours, because of a Quinn fake anti-noise bill, Donny sought me out to let me know of his fight against Quinn. I dismissed him as a fanatic, after all, Quinn couldn’t possibly be THAT horrible . . . she was worse. I listened to Donny and I jumped on board with Donny’s fight, the tour guides joined and my big mouth got many people to join Donny. Wonderful, wonderful loving animal rights activist groups and anyone that hated Bloomberg and wanted to save NYC joined us. We protested at everyone of her public appearances and taunted her mercilessly. Our numbers grew, as did our budget. We handed out flyers during rush hour at subway stations, bus and ferry terminals. My mother was one of his staunchest supporters, never leaving her house without Donny’s literature to hand out in the neighborhood. People began to listen and the animal rights people, the minorities, the middle class and passionate celebrities formed an army. ABQ = Anyone But Quinn! People like Cynthia Nixon, Susan Sarandon and the entertainment community brought their fame, money and passion to the public’s eye. These people already hated Quinn, but I insist that is Donny’s persistent, passionate, intelligent voice from the beginning opened everyone’s eyes. Quinn’s poll numbers began to plummet from leader of the mayoral race to 3rd or 4th place, week after week.

On November 5, 2013, Bill de Blasio won the mayoral election by a landslide, receiving over 73% of the vote and will become the first Democratic mayor of the city in nearly 20 years. Thank you Donny Moss for giving me my city back!

M+M, JONATHAN MERES (ONE) COHEN and MARIE CECILE FLAGEUL:

A forceful team, together they ARE 5 Pointz/ “the institute of higher burning“, the curators of the leading world’s graffiti and street mural art museum and mecca that was destroyed by the cruel vindictive whitewashing of the building in the middle of the night on November 19 of this year by Gerry Wolkoff. Words almost fail me to describe the incredible joy and privilege I have of being their friends. My heart is so deeply full of the pleasure they have brought to the entire world through their tireless efforts to have made 5 Pointz bigger and better year after year. I had come for years as an enthralled neighbor to support the saving of 5 Pointz. Then it then dawned on me that as a tour guide, this was the ultimate New York experience to bring my guests there as a surprise last stop. Over the years I had gained Meres’ and Marie’s trust by never betraying them or their art, by never pretending to be anyone else but someone who  passionately loved this mesmerizing art.  I thrived on the surprised looks on my tourist guest’s faces as they approached the loading dock and where overwhelmed by the fantastic colors and phantasmagorical art work. I felt like a million dollars sharing this with them.

Marie fiercely defended the illegal filming on the site, but saw to it that has been included in countless films, music videos and blogs. Meres saw to it that fellow writers and artists respected the sight and oversaw all the murals that would dazzle your imagination, resulting in world wide recognition as the premier street art museum. 200,000-square-feet (19,000 m2) of dazzling imagination from all over the world. Meres’ signature light bulbs are now recognized all over the world. Did you know that if look up any travel guide, 5 Pointz is listed as the #1 thing to see in Queens? – you can thank the brilliance of Meres and Marie for that. Meres’ 5 Pointz tours via SideTours was their #1 attraction and would sell out rapidly when new dates were announced. You felt so very special taking his tour, plain and simple = it was just so fucking cool!  New York City owes them a big commission check for all the tourist money they brought to New York, Queens and especially Long Island City.

But one of the most powerful gifts they have given to so many and I have been lucky enough to receive, is their bringing together one of the most diverse group of people from across the city and the globe who otherwise never would have met and shared such passion, joy and fun. Art unites, art opens your eyes and hearts, art can even save lives. Meres and Marie united the world through the brilliance of Meres’ artful vision and Marie’s passion. To say “thank you et merci” almost doesn’t seem enough . . .


Photo of the day: I’M NOT DREAMING OF A WHITE CHRISTMAS AT 5 POINTZ

5 Pointz International Graffiti Museum.  December 14, 2013.

5 Pointz International Graffiti Museum. December 14, 2013.

Photo of the day: I’M NOT DREAMING OF A WHITE CHRISTMAS – With the horrific heartless vandalizing of the 5 Pointz international graffiti art museum by owner Gerry Wolkoff by smearing white paint over 1,000’s of pieces of incredible breath taking art, I thought it would be sadly ironic to photograph the remains of the museum in tonight’s first blizzard of the season. The loading dock has now been cordoned off with a tall chain link fence with mesh netting so you cannot ‘see’ through, god forbid scrooge let’s you have a glimpse. (I squeezed my camera through an opening in the gate). The two gates are kept closed with a big steel chain link and lock. As the wind whipped the snow around, the gates rattled back and forth with the only sound to be heard of the chain links and the lock rattling, eerily like that of a ghost in an old movie haunting his final resting place. It felt like a cold place of death as the wind howled, the chains rattled with not a sign of life except for the occasional rats wondering where all the food has gone. Perhaps the rats will find good company with the despicable owner Gerry Wolkoff since misery loves company.
I just stood there for about an hour and watched the snow envelope the now ghostly white building in a graveyard of snow. In this particular case, I am not dreaming of a white Christmas.
(More photos to follow.)

Photos of the day: MODERN DAY HITLER VANDALIZES ‘DEGENERATE ART’ AT 5 POINTZ

ACT OF HATE-c

Photos of the day: MODERN DAY HITLER VANDALIZES ‘DEGENERATE ART’ AT 5 POINTZ:

5 POINTZ AFTER NOV. 2013

5 POINTZ AFTER NOV. 2013

5 POINTZ BEFORE NOV. 2013

5 POINTZ BEFORE NOV. 2013

Tuesday November 19, 2013 is a day I will not long forget. It was a twist of events and cruel fate that brought many powers of good and evil together.

MARIE FLAGEUL

MARIE FLAGEUL

My dear friend and fellow tour guide Tom Orzo and I picked up 6 German tourist guests at the Queen Mary 2 at the Brooklyn piers for a 3 hour city tour. Normally Tom and I end our tour with a surprise visit to 5Pointz. Since we were coming from Brooklyn, Tom (doing the driving) insisted we make 5Pointz our first fateful stop. At 10:45 we were heading down Jackson Avenue when Tom kept calling out “Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!”. I thought it was his over-reaction to a smaller building in front of the Graffiti Museum that was being torn down. My back was to the museum, I’m facing my German guests telling them how extraordinary a site they are about to see. Now I realize their faces seemed odd and puzzled, so I turn around to the shock of seeing men on high cranes slopping white paint all over the building, obliterating 12 years of spectacular intricate art. I quickly got out to see if I recognized anyone.

MERES' VOW TO FIGHT

MERES’ VOW TO FIGHT

I ran back to the van and we sped to the main loading dock/entrance to the building. And there it was, a vandalized, obliterated work of art – 12+ years destroyed. I ripped open the door to the van and ran into the arms of curator Marie Flaguel and held her as tightly as I could. I cried deep from the gut. I couldn’t stop, I could not speak, I kept gasping for air. I was afraid to let go for fear of seeing Marie’s face. Finally I had to. “It’s all gone…” she said as tears streamed  down her face. The owner Jerry Wolkoff, the same man who had asked the artists to paint the murals on his building, had hired non union thugs to destroy over 1,500 pieces of art outside and even throughout the entire inside of the building. Murals that would take your breath away now had erratic white brush strokes all over them. Oddly enough, the greater more powerful murals – had extra coats of white paint over them, it was deliberate, fearful, vindictive and hateful. How do you find words in a moment when you realize it was one of the greatest mass desecrations of art in the 21st Century. An art genocide.

One of the most haunting incredible  unseen inside murals by Carlos "See TF" Game

One of the most haunting incredible unseen inside murals by Carlos “See TF” Game

As Marie was filling me in on what happened, one of my German guests, Andrea Pröscholdt-Krulich, ran over in tears. “Why?! Warum?!” she kept asking. She was quite shaken. You see – her son was a graffiti artist who had recently committed suicide. She had planned on this trip to New York to visit 5Pointz to pay homage to her son. She never thought that a ‘routine Manhattan city tour’ would have included our surprise visit here. Andrea and my guests were stunned at the amount of press around us and the unexplainable goings on. They looked on in wonderment – here they were in ‘free’ America’, in ‘progressive’ New York and they were watching Hitler-like tactics unfold before their stunned eyes. Some of my older guests were survivors of World War II. I had to get back on the coach and explain what was happening. Then  I realized something. I was with a group of Germans, some of whom had been through a time in Germany when Hitler from 1936 to 1937 rounded up all “modern” art – “Entartete Kunst“ and declared it ‘degenerate’ and had it all destroyed. Over 5,000 works were seized, including 1,052 by Emil Nolde, 759 by Heckel, 639 by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and 508 by Max Beckman, as well as smaller numbers of works by such artists as Alexander Archipenko, Chagall, James Ensor, Matisse, Picasso and even Van Gogh. What Jerry Wolkoff did was no different!

5 POINTZ CANDLE VIGIL 11-18-13

5 POINTZ CANDLE VIGIL 11-18-13

LAST STAND AT 5 POINTZ 11-18-13

LAST STAND AT 5 POINTZ 11-18-13

But we were not there to mourn the destruction of the museum, their clock was ticking and I was there paid to give a tour. We continued with our tour, but every time we came to a red light or got stuck in traffic, the conversation always went back to the disbelief of 5Pointz. We dropped off our guests and I headed to a candle light vigil that was held at 5pm.

GERMANY MOURNS WITH YOU <3

GERMANY MOURNS WITH YOU ❤

The vigil’s atmosphere was like a tomb, what had been vibrant was dead. At night the ‘white” was even more ‘deadly’ and eerie. People kept coming, looking up in silent tearful disbelief and anger. Poster boards were taped onto the building for us to leave our messages. The purpose of the posters is – we will never ever again grace his walls with a single piece of art, line, scribble name or even a dot. Wolkoff had the audacity to claim he too cried. He claimed he had done this so the artist wouldn’t have had the pain of seeing their art work torn down over a period of months.  This scumbag reasoning is because he was afraid of the momentum we were gaining. On last Sunday’s rally, when 5Pointz was packed, Marie and Meres (co-curators) had gathered over 1,000 signed petitions in ONE day, to have the building land marked and saved. The owner Wolkoff cleverly erased the value of the building. Let us also not forget, the approval of the two twin glass towers that he plans to build on the same spot were approved by the weasel of a lying two-faced councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, the lowest form of politician there is: big smiling child like innocent face, with his hand holding a knife behind his back, ready to strike for his financial gain.  Wolkoff and Bramer – greed is the intoxicant but karma is the bitch.

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

So joining the ranks now of Picasso, Matisse and Van Gogh are artists Onur Dinc, Esteban Del Valle, Meres One, Spidertag, Kidlew, Kkade, Rubin, Aka Shiro, Veronique Barrilot, Contort, Jekl and Dyzer5, Bisco, Bishop203, Just One, Leias, Zeso, and Zimad, Lord Roc, Bisc1, one of my favorites Carlos “See TF” Game and so, so many, many more. Who is anyone to say they aren’t the next Keith Harring, Basquiat, or Matisse? It is a knife in the soul of a fading New York.

GHOSTS OF 5 POINTZ

GHOSTS OF 5 POINTZ

Rest In Paint 5POINTZ
MARIE FLAGEUL - CANDEL  LIGHT VIGIL

MARIE FLAGEUL – CANDEL LIGHT VIGIL

MERES' 'STAND HERE'

MERES’ ‘STAND HERE’


Photo of the day: SMILE . . . it’s SUNDAY !

SMILE!©

Photo of the day: SMILE . . . it’s SUNDAY !

Photo of the day: GIVE ME THE LIBERTY TO GIVE A TOUR !

GIVE ME THE LIBERTY collage

Photo of the day: GIVE ME THE LIBERTY TO TOUR ! – French muralist Veronique Barrilot painted this great mural as a (hopefully not) final statement at the 5 Pointz Graffiti & Mural Museum on Jackson Avenue in Long Island City, Queens, which is in danger of being torn down in favor of twin glass high rise towers. (See my earlier post). Her bold Liberty statue proclaims in French “Give Me The Liberty to Paint!”.
For the past week I have been faced with the frustration of leading my European tourists who have come so far to see (shall we say) their Eiffel Tower, our Statue of Liberty – only to find signs posted that the despicable government has shut the symbol of freedom down and their tickets have been canceled. There we are left standing in Battery Park which is still mostly destroyed from hurricane Sandy. No park. No island. No Liberty.
I too join my friend Veronique in proclaiming “Give Me The Freedom – to Tour!”