Banksy watch: Artist criticizes World Trade Center tower as ‘vanilla’

A view of One World Trade Center in New York.
(Michael Bocchieri / AFP/Getty Images)

Banksy has a new calling: architecture critic.

The British street artist, who has taken up a residency in New York for the month of October, has criticized the One World Trade Center building as “vanilla” in an op-ed piece that the artist claims was rejected by the New York Times.

The article, titled “Shyscraper,” was published Monday on the artist’s official website. “Today’s piece was going to be an op-ed column in the New York Times,” wrote Banksy. “But they declined to publish what I supplied.”

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In the article, Banksy wrote that the 104-story skyscraper in lower Manhattan “is a non-event. It’s vanilla. It looks like something they would build in Canada.” The artist described the building as “a really tall kid at a party, awkwardly shifting his shoulders trying not to stand out from the crowd. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a shy skyscraper.”

New York Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy told the New York Post that the newspaper of record rejected the article because the two parties couldn’t reach an agreement on the piece or the artwork. “What he has posted on his site is not exactly the same as what he submitted,” she told the Post.

One World Trade Center -- formerly known as the Freedom Tower -- is expected to open some time in 2014. The structure was designed by David M. Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. It will be the tallest building in the U.S., standing at a symbolic 1,776 feet.


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