Banksy appears to have claimed that the new World Trade Center in New York is "104 floors of compromise" and shows that the "terrorists won" when they attacked the US on September 11.
In an opinion piece that was rejected by the New York Times, but which the artist later posted on his website, the structure is described as a "shyscraper" that resembles something that might be built "in Canada".
The newspaper's decision not to publish the piece led to another Banksy artwork – a mural in Greenpoint saying: "This site contains blocked messages."
It's a dark and unexpected turn for the artist, whose New York residency this October has been characterised by light, witty pieces that give arch commentary on the social issues of today.
On his website, the artist wrote: "Today's piece was going to be an op-ed column in the New York Times. But they declined to publish what I supplied. Which was this…"
It reads: "Remarkably for such a tall structure, One World Trade lacks any self-confidence. How does it stand up without a spine? It looks like it never wanted to be built in the first place.
"It reminds you of 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.
"It would be easy to view One World Trade Centre as a betrayal of everyone who lost their lives on September 11th, because it so clearly proclaims the terrorists won. Those 10 men have condemned us to live in a world more mediocre than the one they attacked, rather than be the catalyst for a dazzling new one.
"You really need to put up a better building in front of it right away. Or better still, let the kids with the roller poles finish it off.
"Because you currently have under construction a one thousand foot tall sign that reads – New York – we lost our nerve."
A spokeswoman for the New York Times told Gothamist: "He did submit an op-ed and art. We couldn't agree on either the piece or the art, so we did reject it."
She added that the piece submitted was different to that on the artist's website, saying: "It was close, just not exactly the same."Reuse content