MELROSE — A high-end Melrose art gallery was looted on Monday, June 1, as an Instagram post by 5 Art Gallery and a Youtube video depicts.
The video begins with a crowd of both looters and protestors making their way down Melrose avenue when a large cracking sound draws the attention of many to 5 Art Gallery. A group of looters quickly break through a store window and begin stealing artworks while a group of protestors from behind them scream, “80% of those fucking artists are minorities what are you doing?”
The crowd of protestors continues to scream to stop the looting and attempt to physically stop a few people, but the video depicts all of the looters running away with stolen pieces from 5 Art Gallery. One man yells in response, “that shit’s insured.”
The looters quickly dashed in and grabbed a variety of small statues and other works of art. The crowd standing against the looting was able to take one stolen piece out of the hands of a looter and placed it back in the store.
The end of the video shows the destroyed inside of the gallery, while many sculptures were stolen, a large number of paintings were left intact and in the gallery. The video ends with someone placing a street barricade in front of the broken window and others guarding the broken window to prevent other looters. One of the men guarding the broken window says, “Y’all looking for the wrong people.”
Among the pieces stolen, a large KAWS Companion sculpture was stolen that has drawn significant attention. 5 Art Gallery has posted on Instagram saying, “What a sad day! We are so much against what happened to George Floyd. But this affected our employees and the artists that had nothing to do with this. Thanks to everyone who helped us today. Please send over every footage you have.”
Art critique Antwaun Sargent wrote on Twitter saying, “the video of the KAWS being taken… maybe nature is healing… the silence of the contemporary art world, who have spent the last few months claiming art is essential, haven’t done much of anything to show they are on the side of the protestors, justice.”
Artist KAWS has not commented on the looting but posted on Instagram a photo of George Floyd’s name and a black square in solidarity with the Blackout Tuesday movement, as did 5 Art Gallery.
Many on Twitter and Instagram wrote comments supporting 5 Art Gallery and expressing anger at the theft of the art.
Multiple high-end Melrose stores were looted in the protests, riots, and lootings over the past 10 days in L.A. after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Adidas, RSVP Gallery, Round Two, Fight Club, RIF LA, and many others have all been looted heavily.
RIF LA responded to comments of insurance covering losses from looting saying in a tweet, “We’ve been hit in the past…Insurance gave us 20% of what we really loss. So if y’all keep doing this thinking insurance will cover everything. You’re wrong. Picture losing $1 million and insurance ends up giving you $200K after 6 months.”
Designer Virgil Abloh wrote harsh words after Round Two was looted saying, “This disgusts me … We’re a part of a culture together. Is this what you want?”
RSVP Gallery owner, which sells streetwear and displays art, wrote in response to the looting of his store, “The one principle I admire is the unity of the young people. The way all those young black, white, latino, asian…kids were united looting and rioting my store! I’m not sure what the cause is but they were clearly revolting the system.”
Bobby Kim tweeted in response to the concern of his store on North Fairfax, The Hundreds, saying “Eh, it’ll be fine. It’s just a store. Black lives are precious, however. Protect Black lives.”
5 Art Gallery was established in 2018 by art collectors and entrepreneurs Jean-Jacques and Julie Darmon, and describe their gallery as representing, “a wide array of international pop and urban artists” with a focus on bringing French art into Los Angeles.”
Canyon News reached out to 5 Art Gallery, but they have not responded.