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 March 4, 2014.   0 Comment
Subway riders who saw the graffiti-coated warehouse buildings in Queens known as 5Pointz from the 7 train and planned to visit them someday will never have the chance.

In a much criticized move, the owner of the buildings, off Jackson Avenue in Long Island City, had the walls whitewashed in November, covering over decades of artists’ work. The area will soon be leveled, and high-rise apartment buildings are in the offing.

Those would-be visitors can at least take solace in this: Some of the artists who made the place what it was, including the curator, Jonathan Cohen, the artist known as Meres One, now have work hanging on the walls of the Gold Coast Arts Center in Great Neck.

The exhibition “Wall Works: The Art of Graffiti” runs through March 2; conversations with participating artists are planned for the last day.

“They’re amazing artists, and I think they get a bad rap because they write on walls and buildings,” said Jude Amsel, the center’s gallery director.

Ms. Amsel, an artist and a Long Island City resident, said in a telephone interview that after she first moved to the area in 2009, she began to hang around 5Pointz, getting to know some of the artists. Since she has also lived in Great Neck and raised a family there, she said, she is pleased at the chance to present the work of 5Pointz artists to “a population that really needs to be exposed to this urban art.

Ms. Amsel, who is a founding member of the center, where she has served in various capacities for 20 years, became the gallery director in December, and “Wall Works” is the first exhibition under her leadership.

She took the gallery director’s position at a time when the center was also undergoing a name change, from the Great Neck Arts Center to the Gold Coast Arts Center, a name that better identifies the place as a regional entity, not a hyperlocal one, said Regina Gil, the executive director. The change was formalized late last month.

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In the middle of one room at the Gold Coast center stands a sculpture by Hunt Rodriguez, which depicts a graffiti artist, spray can in hand. The work itself is covered in graffiti, and on its back is a red star with the phrase “R.I.P. 5Pointz.”

The work, and the exhibition, which features the work of eight artists, five of them from 5Pointz, bring a colorful blast of urban culture to the center and also offer a paean to a place that has been lost to time and development.

“To us it’s a way of keeping 5Pointz alive,” said Marie Cecile Flaguel, a spokeswoman for the artists.

“Five Pointz was, and grew in, a building, but 5Pointz became a community of people.”                        [SreK ZypheR]

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