Word and Image

Subway – Art

This was an eyesore series of buildings seen from the elevated subway by millions. The owner let the abandoned building stand (decades) waiting for the value to be more and then enough to be of value to develop. He just didn’t care about his abandoned buildings enough to maintain any semblance of care. Graffiti covered the buildings and reached legendary status. Then the fight began.

New York Times 2/12/18 – Judge awards 21 graffiti artists $6.7 million judgment for destroyed graffiti art. The owner/developer destroyed their art on his buildings. I can see (pun) the arguments from both sides. Isn’t graffiti unwanted art? As in, we see it on the subway cars and the MTA cleans it off. (I took these images from a subway car.) This stuff has collected upon the buildings over the years. The buildings were abandoned and awaiting development. The art is on someone else’s property and was done without permission. There is an act – VARA – Visual Artists Rights Act. Yup! There is! Oh boy. ‘Nuff said!

The story? Mine? I saw these (buildings/art) long after I rode the subway with any frequency. I got these images on the way back (not going to) from an event in Queens. It was August 2010 and it was with my trusty Nikon D200. My digital files are scattered/organized. The database is lost among backup hard drives. Voila! First, I had to look through my database. The key word – subway. I would not have listed it as “5Pointz.” Then cull the index word. I’ve taken pictures on at least two occasions. Once would do it for my purpose of finding an image. It’s art that’s gone now. I remember the controversy about destroying it. It was fun to see from the train. It was placed illegally upon someone’s wall. It became legendary. The owner repurposed the wall. The art is gone. It’s worth $6.7 million. It was there long enough to be considered valuable art.

Silvercup? This is a bread factory sign overlooking the Queensborough Bridge. As a kid we drove to Manhattan via this bridge. Each time we passed you could inhale the wondrously enticing smells emanating from the plant as fresh bread was baking 24/7. The place is a movie studio now. The sign has been preserved. It’s right next to 5Pointz. Signs are covered/developed/destroyed all the time. The argument here is/was a true conundrum.

Hey! I got an image that’s (art) gone now! I found it in my archive in short order. Sadly, I knew I had the image and it was indexed in a way that only I know. Shortly no one will be able to access this stuff without looking frame by frame. That would be 200, 000 plus (>300k) images. Nope. …it ain’t happening. Hey?! Are my images valuable? Nope. History.


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