Today marks the 13th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, and unfortunately that means that a lot of people will be using the tragedy solely to promote their personal brands. It also means that we're going to see a lot of tributes popping up around the country, like this one from Mr. Brainwash that was completed yesterday on the side of Century 21 on Church Street in Manhattan, very close to the World Trade Center site.
According to Gothamist, the piece was made in collaboration with Century 21, but Mr. Brainwash actually approached them with the idea instead of waiting for someone to commission him to do a piece (because that probably wouldn't happen). "When Mr. Brainwash came to us with this idea we were honored," said the store's VP Isaac Gindi in a statement. "We are such big fans of his work and loved the idea of showing our support and dedication for the Downtown community and NYC’s bravest and finest right on our building. His piece exemplifies a tribute to the resiliency of New York City and all Americans after 9/11."
The piece that Mr. Brainwash pasted up isn't necessarily appropriate for the occasion. There is a huge black heart being sprayed out of a fire hose, pedestrians and service men on the ground looking up (including someone playing a saxophone), firefighters on a ladder next to the words "I Love New York," and an American flag that covers the majority of the building. There are other elements scattered around, like the words "Forever" and "You will always be loved and remembered." The general consensus so far is that tribute murals in theory are great, but this one just sucks.
Jake Dobin of Gothamist writes, "While I respect the sentiment, and it's always a good thing to honor 9/11 victims, Mr. Brainwash's art still looks terrible. Messy lettering, slapdash paste-up technique, ideas which are always visual cliches. Some people might make the argument that his style is so bad that it's actually good, but that's some next level shit that I just can't get on." Bucky Turco of ANIMAL is also not a fan, writing, "Sadly, artist Mr. Brainwash is still a thing that exists." He disagrees wholeheartedly with Century 21's decision to hire the artist to "create shit artwork, memorializing one of the most horrific disasters to ever happen in the United States."
Let us know what you think of the mural in the comments.