http://www.digitaljournal.com/a-and-e/arts/review-whitewash-a-tribute-to-5-pointz/article/381952

Review: WHITEWASH — A tribute to 5 Pointz Special

Posted Apr 24, 2014 by Kathleen Creighton
"WHITEWASH" is a gallery show at Jeffery Leder Gallery. It is a tribute to 5 Pointz Aerosol Art Center and a response to its destruction. The show is curated by Marie Cecile-Flageul.
Banner announcing the show
Banner announcing the show
It is very obvious when one enters 2137 45th Road in the Long Island City section of Queens, NY that this gallery used to be someone’s home. The front door leads to the parlor with the dining room behind it. The narrow stairs lead up to what, most likely, were three small bedrooms. Today, though, besides the terra cotta pots lining the steps to the front door, there is a sign on the fence that announces the “Whitewash” show inside. Also outside, is a white fabric banner on the front of the building that bears the “tags” of the artists’ works that are on display along with the logo of 5 Pointz Aerosol Art Center, Inc.
The significance of the previous life of the space now occupied by the Jeffrey Leder Gallery is that the paintings on its walls speak about “home” and all the emotions created when that home is taken and destroyed. They tell the story of corporate greed, the continuing effort to homogenize all the character of the American landscape and demonizing people who are “different.” This is the tragic tale of what has been happening to the real art of the U.S. for at least the last 30 years.
WHITEWASH gallery show at Jeffrey Leder Gallery
WHITEWASH gallery show at Jeffrey Leder Gallery
The interior walls of the Leder Gallery are painted bright white. The only contrasts anywhere are the hearths of the two fireplaces, the window frames and a table and chairs in one room. The canvases are few but each depicts a powerful message. All are responses to the heartless destruction of a unique and wonderful place. Many of the paintings of the "Whitewash" show are photo-realistic. They are snapshots of 5 Pointz in the days after the paint-over. Others are statements — bold, honest images and/or words declaring what happened less than a block away. In one small room stands a life-sized statue of a painter that was originally placed at 5 Pointz. It is covered with the signatures of a multitude of street artists and friends of 5 Pointz.
WHITEWASH at Jeffrey Leder Gallery
WHITEWASH at Jeffrey Leder Gallery
Statue at Jeffrey Leder Gallery - WHITEWASH
Statue at Jeffrey Leder Gallery - WHITEWASH
Graffiti/street art does have a bad reputation and some of it is earned. Painting on public and private property without permission is, by the letter of the law, vandalism. Honestly if the works have no genuine creativity they can be a blight to the landscape. But then there are those people who can use a spray can like a precision tool and create pieces that catch the eye in a positive way and also add something bright to an otherwise dreary spot. It was those artists that came to LIC for the last 10 years, to a place where they had permission to unleash their full potentials. It evolved to the point that curator Jonathan “Meres” Cohen and his team plowed through applications and work samples to select the painters who share their work on the walls of the warehouse complex.
Today, 45-46 Davis Street in LIC is a sad, whitewashed hulk. No longer are subway riders on the #7 met with the splashes of bright colors and cheerful pieces. It is a cold hard slap to witness the complex now especially after seeing it before November 2013. The condition today is the response of the property owner, who after many years of welcoming taggers, writers and burners, fell to the temptation of money and is now working to redevelop the property into yet another giant silver box of apartments to standardize the NYC skyline. Meres, his staff, the artist colony living and paying rent in the warehouse along with many artists and fans of 5 Pointz organized to try to maintain it as a arts community and living gallery. It was when they started the process of having the building declared a landmark that G&M Realty brought in an unlicensed crew at 3 a.m. and “buffed” 5 Pointz but not in the way that street artists would clear a spot for the next painting. This is a very shoddy, sloppy white, black and gray paint over that added insult to injury. It was intentional and made its point loud and clear.
WHITEWASH at Jeffrey Leder Gallery
WHITEWASH at Jeffrey Leder Gallery
All together this is an incredibly emotional show. It not about warm and fuzzy, it is about anger, frustration, sadness and determination. Most who come to see it will have to witness the present state of the site the show pays tribute to, coming and/or leaving. This will add even more power to the already strong feelings the paintings will stir in viewers. Having gotten to meet and know the great lady 5 Pointz in her heyday, this show is a definite must see. Hopefully it will work to keep the fight going and find new spaces for these phenomenal street artists to continue to share their craft with New York City and everywhere else.
WHITEWASH at Jeffrey Leder Gallery
WHITEWASH at Jeffrey Leder Gallery
Jeffrey Leder Gallery is located at 2137 45th Rd., Queens, NY. They are open Wednesday through Sunday from Noon-6 p.m. EDT. Whitewash goes until June 8th.