Wall Street’s ‘Charging Bull’ artist wants ‘Fearless Girl’ statue removed

Mayor Bill de Blasio poses with Fearless Girl statue

Last month, we talked about the Fearless Girl statue. Fearless Girl was placed on Wall Street, right in front of the famous bronze bull statue. Fearless Girl was a stunt thought up by McCann, an advertising agency, in honor of International Women’s Day. The statue was supposed to only last a few weeks, I think, but Fearless Girl became very popular and now a lot of people want her to stay. Mayor De Blasio is a huge fan, and he also wants Fearless Girl to stay. Everyone had all of their paperwork and Fearless Girl was absolutely going to stay until February 2018, at which time the issue will be revisited. Even if it means drunken Wall Street frat bros drunkenly “hump” the statue for the next year.

So, that’s where we were. Most people wanted Fearless Girl to stay. But one brave Brosef is willing to be the bad guy. That Brosef? Arturo Di Modica, the artist who made the Charging Bull statue. Fearless Girl is defiantly standing in front of Charging Bull and now Di Modica is threatening a lawsuit. Ugh.

The sculptor of Wall Street’s iconic “Charging Bull” statue says New York City has violated his legal rights with the placement of “Fearless Girl,” a statue of a young girl that has been staring down his creation since International Women’s Day on March 8. Artist Arturo Di Modica and his lawyers argued at a press conference in New York City on Wednesday that the placement of the statue was copyright infringement and distorted the meaning of his sculpture.

Di Modica at times became emotional during a press conference, and said the bull’s message was supposed to be “freedom in the world, peace, strength, power and love.”

“In our opinion, a deliberate choice was made to exploit and to appropriate the ‘Charging Bull’ through the placement of ‘Fearless Girl,’” attorney Norman Siegel said at the press conference. Siegel said they believed the artist’s rights had been violated as a result of placing the statue of the girl “directly across from the ‘Charging Bull,’” without Di Modica’s permission.

[From NBC News]

Nope. Just… nope. He has no f–king case. No one did anything to the Charging Bull. Fearless Girl was just placed in the Bull’s sight line and that doesn’t infringe on any copyright or anything. This actually angers me that Arturo Di Modica is THIS offended. By a statue of a girl. A girl disrupting his ode to testosterone, bull markets and coked-up bros. Here are some of the best Twitter hot-takes on this situation:

Photos courtesy of WENN, Getty.

 

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175 Responses to “Wall Street’s ‘Charging Bull’ artist wants ‘Fearless Girl’ statue removed”

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  1. catwoman says:

    Anything for attention and an attempt to stay relevant. Someone should sue him for tying up the court system for a stupid, frivolous case. He needs to grow a pair.

    • Tiny Martian says:

      Yes. His complaint is a load of BS.

      • ctgirl says:

        The artist does have a case and there is case law that supports his position. By adding another element to the artist’s original installation they changed the meaning/context/message of his sculpture.

      • WendNerd says:

        @ctgirl No, he doesn’t. He installed his artwork illegally. No one is using his art for property. They placed a different piece of art near it (legally) To quote Victoria McNally at Pajiba “If someone is selling knock-offs of your work or featuring it in advertisements without your approval, that is a violation of copyright. If someone has placed art next to your work that challenges it in a meaningful way, that does not violate anything — except, perhaps, the delicate sensibilities of the offended artist.”

      • ctgirl says:

        @WendNerd, the fearless girl sculpture loses its context without the bull. She needs someone to stare down for the message to be effective. The bulls original message was about the bull stock market coming back after a downturn and the continuing hope for prosperity. With the girl in front of it, the bull becomes a menace to be stared down and totally changes the message. There is case law regarding this type of situation and the courts will have to rule. Yes, the bull was originally a piece of guerrilla art but has had permits for its placement for decades.

      • Megan says:

        @WendNerd Since Fearless Girl is advertising an index fund, it is a copyright violation.

        While the initial installation was illegal, the sculpture was legally placed where it is now.

      • K says:

        It’s a conversation now – he wants it to remain an uncontested statement.

        Diddums.

      • aenflex says:

        Agree with ctgirl. Know nothing of the legalities, but if the bull artist truly meant his sculpture to be a symbol of freedom and prosperity, I could see him be ruffled at how it’s been ‘appropriated’ for a different message.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        No one added an element to his piece. They are physically far a part. Additionally, Fearless Girl does NOT lose her context without the bull. See the photo above (like many others) who take her picture as she is, without inclusion of the bull at all.

        Women don’t need an object to rebel against. Standing strong in today’s world is an act of rebellion on its own.

        ” if the bull artist truly meant his sculpture to be a symbol of freedom and prosperity, I could see him be ruffled at how it’s been ‘appropriated’ for a different message”

        The message had already changed. He meant for it to be about the American people, but people now view it as being about the stock market and Wall Street. The American public’s opinions about wall street have changed a lot since 2008.

      • ctgirl says:

        @Tiffany:-), if fearless girl wasn’t placed facing the bull then her message would be different or diminished. And public opinion having changed has nothing to do with the original message of the bull’s artist.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        The original message/intent of the artist means nothing. They can try to have their piece received in a certain way, but they can’t force people to accept the message they were trying to send. See also: Pepsi commercials.

        Artists know that when they release a creation into the world, they can’t control how it will be perceived. They can’t control how the meaning will change over time. They can’t control how world events and public spaces will evolve over time. When you place art in a public space, you have the least amount of control. The “original message of the bull’s artist” hasn’t been relevant for a long time now. The public owns it now.

      • CTgirl says:

        @Tiffany :) , actually, the artist owns this piece of art and it’s copyright. It wasn’t purchased by the city or donated to the city. So yes, the artist’s original message and intent are valid in this case and can impact any court proceedings.

      • Lahdidahbaby says:

        I completely agree with CTgirl. It was a cheap trick to place the “fearless” girl there, in essence rendering the DiModica piece effete.

      • FLORC says:

        Also agree with CTgirl and the general message. There’s a foundation to argue.
        On the same thought though. For the sake of continuity maybe? He should have been arguing how over years the Bull’s meaning has been corrupted from his intent to the exact opposite. I’ve never known that bull to be anything more than just a male symbol for aggressive and unapologetic wall Street tactics.

      • DystopianDance says:

        I agree- what if this was reversed? What if the city placed a masochism statue in front of the girl? I agree the current menagerie is relevant; however this must be removed per the artist to protect what could be abhorrent in a future re-arrangeing of artists’ pieces.

      • olcranky says:

        “actually, the artist owns this piece of art and it’s copyright. It wasn’t purchased by the city or donated to the city. So yes, the artist’s original message and intent are valid in this case and can impact any court proceedings.”

        @CTgirl – then, perhaps, he can get immediate relief by taking his artwork back

    • Dottie Hinkle says:

      Unpopular opinion, but I agree with him.

    • Matomeda says:

      I agree with CTGirl. I don’t know the law, but I did read that he was granted all his permits after, so they’re there now. And adding this statute very, very much changed the meaning of his and it absolutely was intentional! If he didn’t want his work added in to, it shouldn’t have been. They can move the statue of the girl, and if they want her staring down a bull they can add that, too.

    • Luna says:

      The stylized bull represents a good thing — a bull market with rising stock prices. Maybe the original symbols of a bear clawing prices down and a bull’s horns tossing them up can be called pro-testosterone, and maybe the bull’s legal status is questionable. But if she were real, and her daddy and mommy were investors, a bull market might propel brave girl to better education and job. Do bulls actually savage everyone around them? I thought they were goaded to fight in the bullring. The exciting juxtaposition grabs attention at first glance and her statue has spunk. But it’s a mixed metaphor.

    • KittyKat says:

      I agree – it changes the meaning of the bull. If I were the artist, I would be upset.

  2. Shambles says:

    “exploit and to appropriate?”

    Oh, f*ck right off with that. He’s pissed that a metaphorical girl is taking up space and people wonder why we need this. Fearless girl has no time for this bullshit.

    • detritus says:

      The extra funny part is that this bull is guerilla artwork, he never asked permission to place it either.
      He plopped in down in New York as a protest, and the people and city decided they liked it, moved it to a better place and kept it.

      • Nicole says:

        Exactly and on those grounds his lawsuit will probably be tossed. His statue was originally in a bank but he dropped it outside in the dead of night. So his outrage is laughable and #masculinitysofragile

        He’s just mad that no one cares about the bull

      • Megan says:

        The statue was originally placed in front of the stock exchange as a Christmas gift to the city following the 1987 stock market crash. The statue was an instant hit. When the police impounded it there was so much public outrage it was permanently placed in the park a few blocks from the exchange. The artist intended it to be a positive reminder of America’s strength during a very difficult financial period.

    • aenflex says:

      Shambles – how could you possibly know exactly why he’s pissed off? You don’t know him. Not every man is a misogynist. He very well may be, or he may not be, but you don’t know.

  3. Jeesie says:

    He has no case and it’s just the nature of art, but I do get why it would bother him. The artist of the Fearless Girl did a great job of making a piece that fits with the bull, so a lot of people who don’t know the history (and that will be a lot of people) will assume it’s one piece of art. So for many it’s not just a reaction and comment on his art, it’s taken as all his art and intention.

    Again, he has no case and this is how it goes with public art sometimes, but it is understandable that he doesn’t like it. He’s going to have to live with it though.

    • Patricia says:

      I agree, well stated. He has no case, but artists are highly sensitive about their work. His art has been essentially changed and I can see how he is upset

      • jinni says:

        I wonder if the Fearless Girl statue was not commissioned by an ad agency and was another guerilla artist work would he feel the way that he does about all of this. Maybe if the message was coming from an true artistic place and not a corporate funded gimmick, he’d be okay with it.

      • Kitten says:

        I don’t see how you can call it a gimmick, really. Just because it was commissioned to advertise an index fund doesn’t take away from the powerful message and beauty of Kristen Visbal’s artwork, particularly when juxtaposed with the bull.

        At its heart, art is a visual communication and I think this piece very effectively conveys the message of female strength and empowerment.

      • Megan says:

        He has a case and he will probably win as his copyright was violated for commercial purposes. If it had been guerrilla art, his case would be weaker, but the piece was commissioned and installed to advertise an index fund.

    • hmmm says:

      The irony is that the Fearless Girl not only changes the conversation but actually embraces a different power, rather than that prosperous manliness worship. That’s what he can’t stand. Before then, his bull was a vapid and shallow addition, with no context except Wall Street. Now, it’s actually meaningful.

  4. Chelly says:

    It’s focus that was taken away from his “prized bull”. That’s all it is, a case of toddler tantrum “but I was here 1st!!!!”….& the fact that its a statue of a little girl, well that’s just unacceptable! Bring on the childish waterworks while explaining this frivolous lawsuit, probably filed in crayons

  5. Aiobhan Targaryen says:

    How does this statue infringe upon his rights at all? If it means peace, love and all the other bs he came up with in that comment, how does the little girl challenge this? The little girl is in almost the same pose. They could both mean the same thing if you want to be generous. This guy is a dick and his lawyer is a dick and a scam artist for taking this case.

    Another question, why a bull- especially a bull in a fighting stance? The image of a bull does not match up with what he said he intended for his statue to mean.

    I like Bill de Blasio’s comment cause he is right.

    • Lady D says:

      Same thought. How does a bull in fighting stance represent peace or love? To which people does a bull represent peace and love?

    • Lindsey says:

      He used a bull because Bulls have been represtitive a strong, growing market since at least 1714. Almost as long as bear has meant weak, falling market. (Bulls gore up when they attack, bears scratch down)

      That is a new meaning he is prescribing it. Di Modica created the bull after the 1987 stock market crash to show the “strength and power of the American people,” he has said. It was installed in the dead of night in 1989, in front of the stock exchange, and taken away that same day.

      The state he depicted the bull in: The Bull’s head is lowered, its nostrils flare, and its wickedly long, sharp horns are ready to gore; it’s an angry, dangerous beast. The muscular body twists to one side, and the tail is curved like a lash: the Bull is also energetic and in motion representing aggressive financial optimistism.

      The materials used to make the bull: The bronze color and hard, metallic texture of the sculpture’s surface emphasises the brute force of the creature.

      It all points to it’s meaning being what he initially claimed. The peace and love angle just plays better than Wall Street, aggressive capitalism and the energy, strength, and unpredictability of the stock markets.

      However, they did knowingly juxtapose the girl with the bull and in context it makes the bull a symbol of aggression and essentially the “bad guy” rather than his intended meaning the first or second.

  6. Eric says:

    Our answer to the bull artist is
    EFF the EFF OFF MotherEFFER!

    Resist!

  7. Lightpurple says:

    “freedom in the world, peace, strength, power and love.”

    Oh, Di Modica, if that was your bull’s message than you are targeting the wrong defendant in your lawsuit. Wall St does not convey freedom, peace, or love and your bull has been co-opted as a symbol of the power of greed; greed that has no problem trampling the rights of little girls and others.

    • vauvert says:

      A raging bull is just what I visualize when I think of peace and love. Not!

    • Tate says:

      Well said, LP!! #fearless girl 💪🏻💪🏻

    • MC2 says:

      The bull & his market was packaged to all of us this way (pun not intended but stays). The 80s were “grab hold of our coattails, do our work & don’t worry if you are just in our dust- we will prevail & make money & take care of you!” But we found out that they are lying mofos & will keep any profit for themselves. Trickle down is crap. That is what he bull represents- hyper masculine money makers that will bull down anyone for themselves. And that is what the bull & that market became so this guy can keep talking his 1980s bs but we see it & it was a coked up sham.
      And now in comes fearless girl……It’s not 1987 anymore & we see that the promises of prosperity for us as a society eating off the white man’s crumbs was crap so she needs to stare the bull down & protect her rights. The 80s didn’t work out then & we don’t need some resurgence of macho, rich, white men to save us- we need something different this time. The bull artist should take a seat & accept that his art, like the world, evolves.

  8. jinni says:

    I can see his point. People have turn his statue to represent things he did not intend with the addition of the new one. His was never meant to represent bros and all of that but now his statue is looked at as something negative (toxic masculinity) that is being faced down by feminism.

    • tmot says:

      If so, he could say that. He’s just mad.

      • jinni says:

        I doubt that explanation would have been accepted since art once the artist releases it is considered up to the viewers interpretation. Maybe he and his lawyer figured they’d have a chance at winning if they came at the situation as an infringement case.

    • Lightpurple says:

      The addition of the Girl did not change the meaning people had attached to his Bull. If you asked 9 out of 10 Wall St brokers what Bull meant to them, “love” or “peace” would not be the answer.

      • jinni says:

        Yes, the stock brokers and others have given it another meaning. But as Notorious MCG said since the new piece looks so much like his work it really changes the meaning because it looks like it was one art installation. I see it like how the Nazis took the swastika from its original meaning, culture and origin and then bastardized it.

      • Lightpurple says:

        I understand your, and to an extent his, points about the new piece commissioned by the ad agency but as I said, whatever his original intent with the Bull, the general public had long since changed the meaning of it.

      • Kitten says:

        Jinni, the bull sculpture was installed after the 1987 stock market crash as a symbol of the “strength and power of the American people”.

        The bull represents strength and power and so does the Fearless Girl. You seem to be saying with your comments that the statue of the girl changes the context of the original piece but to me, all it does is add to it. While the bull may be intended to represent the strength of America, the Fearless Girl makes a distinction and represents the strength of American women. The two pieces of artwork are not nearly as incompatible as you think, thematically they are a pretty good match actually.

        Additionally, art is wholly subjective. If someone wants to see the bull as representative of masculinity then that’s on them. That’s kind of the nature of art, you know? An artist creates a piece and leaves it up to the observer to interpret it how they want to.

      • jinni says:

        Kitten
        As someone said below maybe than the Fearless Girl should have stood beside the Bull to represent the “strength and power” of women which would have complimented and respected the original meaning of the piece.

      • Kitten says:

        But Jinni, in today’s day and age, when we are fighting for women’s bodily autonomy, when we are fighting for women’s access to healthcare, when we are fighting for women to receive equal pay, when we are fighting for women to have workplace benefits like maternity care, when we are fighting for women to be protected from sexual assault on college campuses, why should the girl be side-by-side with the bull? That would indicate that women are seen as equally-strong and powerful in American society as all Americans, when we know that isn’t the case.

        The girl facing down the bull conveys the message that She will prevail, that women are separate but not equal in terms of rights, yet we are just as strong.

      • Amanduh says:

        I am a fairly intelligent person…and I thought the “bull” was representing a bullish market…
        Greed, excess and all of that. Interesting!

      • North of Boston says:

        LP, well said. In all your posts!

      • North of Boston says:

        One of the issues is this: all the positive, optimistic qualities the “bull” represents, as far as the resilience of the American spirit and the optimism and power of the market…the default is to view those as “masculine” qualities. Not because they are, but because that is the default “human” perspective in the US and in corporate America / Wall Street, especially: male and white is the default.

        If Wall Street and all it represents were associated more broadly with “human” energy and optimism instead of primarily “male” energy and optimism, then maybe the “Fearless Girl” would not have been necessary, or could realistically been placed next to the bull to represent the optimism and unity of the American people rising up together against adversity. But given our society, the realities of the business world, how women’s efforts are often devalued, how women’s needs are often set aside (in health studies, in public policy, in corporate policies, in pay practices: seriously* all day every day) it is clear that the default perspective is not human, it is MALE (and white and straight) So it is important to remind TPTB and society that there are other perspectives that will not be ignored any longer. The Fearless Girl does just that (which is why so many boy-children have their knickers in a twist)

        * About 10 years ago I was working in a forward-looking group in a large multi-national company. This group developed future markets, and guided/improved profitability of current AND future operations, so while technically “overhead” anyone with a brain knew this group was critical to future profitability of the company. I was a single woman, with a science degree, an MBA and years of experience in my field. I was well-respected and sought after throughout the company. My direct manager called me in as a sounding board while he was doling out raises to the department, and with a straight face explained how two men who had lower performance, and rank than I did deserved higher raises (both in % and dollar value) because they were married and had wives and families to support. They needed the money, he said.

        I was flabbergasted… because a) I mistakenly thought that raises should be based on performance and value to the company as I had been told (not financial need) and b) Due to A, I’d never mentioned to anyone at work that I was financially supporting my disabled sister (who had been working steadily until she was seriously injured in a car accident and left high-and-dry by her employer who screwed her on her disability and health insurance) and my retired mother (who had gotten financially screwed by my snake of a father in their divorce settlement…so although she had worked nights, weekends etc as a nurse to support him and the family, she was left with nothing when he walked and took all the retirement and RE assets, leaving her with 6 kids and only $150/month in child support and no savings because he’d leveraged it all on some Amway / Safeline scheme she told him not to do. GOD, I remember searching the car floor and cushions for quarters so we could gas up the car…which was so old there were holes in the floor…we’d hold up our feet so they wouldn’t get splashed when we drove over puddles. Then “Dad” would pull up for Divorced-Daddy-Saturday in his sports car and just piss us all off)

        I tried to explain to my boss that other people have financial responsibilities, not just white male husbands with wives and children. But because he was a white male husband with a wife and children, he just could not see it, and kept the raise allotments as he originally assigned them.

        At that point, I took a deep breath. I looked around at my female colleagues who had left the company: by changing jobs, resolving sexual harassment settlements, or quietly leaving for greener pastures and said to myself “WTF am I doing? Why am I working so hard to get passed over and ignored no matter what I do?” and at that point I checked out and stated pursuing other options, eventually landing at a start up that values me and pays me accordingly.
        I should have seen it sooner. For example, when my department changed locations, I’d selected a new office several doors down from the VP, instead of right next door, because in my experience, I knew that if I were right next door, other VPs and managers from other departments would approach me as though I were the VP’s secretary (because I was a woman). I explained that I would be more productive if my office mas not next to his..that as a woman, people would mistake me for his secretary…even our department secretary agreed. But my VP insisted I take the small office next to his, thought I was being silly…and sure enough, I spent at least 10% of my time fielding questions about my VP’s schedule because I was a woman who sat near him. (my male peers did not get the same questions and distractions).

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      I mean … sure. But he never bothered to comment before, did he? The message was twisted long before a girl – shock and horror – was placed before it. It’s not “now” that the bull represents something he didn’t intend. People are just more aware. No, his statement is very clear and if this is something he’s worried about he may want to stay away from placing his art in public spaces. You don’t get to dictate what happens around your damn statue.

    • Chinoiserie says:

      tmot, that is what his statement said even if he was worded strangely.

      But I don’t think he has a case. But I can understand being mad if your art works meaning is changed by adding something.

    • Chaucer says:

      Word for word what I was going to point out, Jinni. I have no problem with Fearless Girl, and I think Wall Street has changed significantly since the bull statue was put into place.

      The implementation of Fearless Girl does fundamentally change the piece of art he created. Art is such a personal thing, I can understand him being upset.

      However, were I him, I would have taken this opportunity to go on a press tour about how the meaning of the piece has altered as Wall Street has altered and instead of standing for the strength and perseverance, is now a symbol of said toxic masculinity and corporate greed, like Wall Street himself. That would have been the smart thing to do.

      • adastraperaspera says:

        Yes, just think how much positive press he could be getting if he took this approach. It actually is very interesting how the popular interpretation of his bull statue has changed over time, and perhaps that shift parallels shifts in our society. He could even have intelligently debated the funding of Fearless Girl. Missed opportunity all around. I do think that Fearless Girl should stay in place, because our future depends on the empowerment of girls.

    • jwoolman says:

      He’ll have to drop the peace and love thing if he wants a chance to win his case, though. That’s just laughable. Nobody thinks that way about a raging bull.

  9. tmot says:

    I agree: it’s working. Just because it was started/funded as an ad agency stunt doesn’t mean it has no inherent meaning.

  10. Digital Unicorn (aka Betti) says:

    Someone is butthurt that his ‘art’ is not getting attention. He has a nerve with this considering it was originally guerrilla art installed without permission in the dead of night, it became a perm feature due do its popularity – he just doesn’t want to share his space with another installation (that was legally done) that is proving to be more popular than his.

    Regardless of his BS about what he think the bull represents it has come to represent the misogynistic attitude and negative aspects of Wall Street.

  11. Anna says:

    He’s got some nerve. Does this dude own the sidewalk now? What a Very Special Snowflake. He should send McCann a fruit basket instead of this bs, because they made his work relevant again.

  12. detritus says:

    The bull was meant as a indictment of Wall Street, and the girl was placed by an Ad company, using feminism for exposure. The bull was guerrilla artwork, made and placed without official permissions, and finally adopted by the city. The girl is now in that same stage.

    Ignoring the artists griping, what’s the art read on this now?
    Ad exec produced feminism faces down toxic obsession with capitalist gains?

    • jinni says:

      This just a company that is using feminism because it is trendy. I bet most of the guys in that ad agency are the real brosefs in this situation. Anyone who thinks this statue is up for any reason other than free advertisement for that company isn’t paying attention. The Bull is a genuine art piece while the girl is essentially a gimmick.

      • Akku says:

        I agree. Reading up about the company that paid for and unveiled the statue just underlines this with their lack of diversity and other dealings. They did what Pepsi was trying to do – capture the zeitgeist of protest and rebellion while shilling a “product” that is contrary to the values of said protests and rebellion.

      • Kitten says:

        How many people here know the name of the index fund, Jinni?
        Do you know the name? I don’t. If it was for the sake of “free advertisement” then State Street wasted their money because the name of the index fund wasn’t even mentioned in the articles I read.

    • detritus says:

      Oh yes for sure.
      At the same time, art is in the eye of the beholder, and is often co-opted by audiences.
      Does the genesis of the piece overshadow the image itself?
      Can great art not be made from mixed intentions?

    • Neelyo says:

      Yeah i came here to say the same. Finding out that the ad company behind the girl has no women in higher positions makes this kind of like a Kendall Jenner Pepsi thing for me.

    • Lightpurple says:

      But the interpretation of the Bull has long since changed from being an indictment of Wall St to being a symbol for all that is wrong with corporate America. Maybe Fearless Girl can remind him of his original message

      • detritus says:

        Reading the comments I realised that as well, its interesting how the interpretation of the piece has changed. Honestly, the artist’s reaction and the public reaction will be great fodder for art students for years.

        Personally, I enjoy the image of the brave little girl staring down the raging bull of capitalism, a shiny false idol.

  13. kNY says:

    I have lived in NYC most of my life and I can tell you that everyone who has taken a picture with that bull crouches by the testicles and makes a funny face. It’s not the freaking Mona Lisa.

  14. Skylark says:

    Fearless Girl is far more aesthetically pleasing.

  15. shelley* says:

    I never knew the Bull was guerrilla art. I thought it had been put there at the behest of Wall street types to signify a Bull market, and wondered when the Bear statue was going to get commissioned.

    We have a Paddington Bear statue at Paddington station..It’s very nice.

  16. Barrett says:

    Yeah but you know what would be great symbolism if she did stand like she’s challenging the bull but next to him bc that’s where we belong next to the MEN on Wall Street.

  17. Notorious MCG says:

    So actually, there are precedents about artists controlling the surroundings and presentation of their sculptures. I work in a performing arts venue that has a sculpture right at the top of the steps of a theatre that straight up looks like a jungle gym/bench/kids plaything. Of course, it’s none of those things – it’s a $2mil statue and work of art. But the artist’s estate won’t allow the center to place any signage around it saying ‘Do Not Touch’ etc and so every time we have an event we specifically have to assign someone to stand in front of it to keep people from sitting on it or touching it.

    Also, while I would like for the Fearless Girl to stay and I am a big fan of her, it isn’t a standalone piece of art. It was cast to be in the same material as the bull, it is facing down the bull, and it is presented as though it and the bull are a unit which does in turn change the visual context of the bull as well. So do I agree that the girl should go? No. Do I think he as an artist has ground to stand on? Yeah, actually.

    • Nicole says:

      I guess I wonder if that holds considering the statue was originally at a bank. So the meaning could not possibly be the same as when he dropped it outside (in a different spot!).

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      He can always remove the bull.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      ” the artist’s estate won’t allow”

      Your example seems to be a private venue, not a public street. These seem to be terms reached before the piece was installed. If the artist who made the Bull didn’t assert such terms and control when he originally installed and gifted the piece, I don’t think they have legal rights to make demands now.

      When you loan out a privately owned piece of art to a museum, you can made demands about lighting, framing, shipping, etc. But that is ALWAYS written out in the agreement and finalized before the piece is shipped. Insurance places certain demands on these agreements as well.

  18. Perpetua says:

    I mean…..it does completely change the message of the piece. If both pieces remain for 20+ years, I am sure he is just fearful of how he will be remembered. Who wants to be the guy that put the big bad bull statue in front of the teeny little girl statue? That’s how people will identify him, most people won’t bother with the whole lengthy back story when they see it, it will just be his name next to the bull. Dont know if theres any legal protection to that, but yeah I get it. As an artist myself, I think a female artist would probably be just as upset. This piece is probably his most successful. And not that his permission was needed, but a courtesy call from the ad agency probably would have been nice.

  19. Hkk says:

    He should take it down in protest. Fearless girl can stand on her own!

  20. Sassback says:

    Well, I think calling the artist of the bull a Brosef is a little offensive first off. He’s a man in his ’70s who produced guerilla art as a response to an economic issue and it’s representative of the brazen strength of Americans. And he’s offended the the little girl statue not because of what it’s supposed to represent but because it A) was produced by a corporation trying to capitalize on this new movement of women in America and its intentions are not pure for him, and B) makes his statue look like it represents the male ego rather than the thriving American economy. i understand him. Personally, even as a Women’s Marcher, I never cared about the Fearless Girl, and I knew they had sort of infringed upon the bull, whose origins I knew. If the Girl installation had been smarter, they would have put her NEXT to the bull, to face down challenges with equal strength.

    • jinni says:

      Thank you.
      I can’t believe so many are siding with a corporation over a guerilla artist. But I guess I should not be too shocked since ad agencies are experts on hoodwinking people into buying their bs.

    • SL says:

      +1 You’ve said it so much more eloquently than I could. @Jinni’s contributions about this have also been great.

    • Gene123 says:

      I completely agree! Or if he had her riding the bull to show that women are apart of the economy and can control it too.

    • Kitten says:

      I still don’t see how any of this matters? Many pieces of art are created with a specific intention by the artist and/or the person who commissioned it. That original intention doesn’t always match public perception/response.
      Ultimately the only thing that matters is how people perceive the piece. Many seem inspired and moved by the imagery and very few see it as emblematic of corporate America. I know that I certainly don’t.

      Again, the origin behind the piece is far less important than the visual communication that the artwork conveys. The message of the piece is a powerful one, regardless of why it was installed and by whom it was installed.

      *shrugs*

      • detritus says:

        “Ultimately the only thing that matters is how people perceive the piece.”
        Agreed, and I think this is especially important for pieces that don’t ‘speak’. A movie has 90 or so minutes to explain itself, a statue is a visual piece that must be taken as it is.

        This makes the art more about the viewer than the original intention.

      • Kitten says:

        This is basically what we learned freshmen year in art school: your intention doesn’t mean shit, it’s all about how your piece is perceived.
        Even in school, class critiques were mandatory because of this very reason–the professor gives you a broad-based assignment, a central concept and your ability to create successful art is dependent on your ability to visually convey the idea that was assigned to you.

      • Josephine says:

        I think the idea is more the intentional use of his piece to depict male aggression. It’s one thing to let people make up their own mind about a piece of art and what it means, and another to deliberately place your piece so as to force the meaning that the new artist wants. I love the little girl, and I thought the placement was just for a short while, and then would be moved to be in its own place of honor, with its own strength. There is something about the fact that the current placement relies upon his work that bugs me. Each of the artists deserve their space.

      • Kitten says:

        But people here are saying that they thought the bull represented Wall St, a bullish market, etc. so whatever the original intention was, it was lost a long time ago. If you take the bull as a singular piece of artwork, it is aggressive and intimidating in and of itself, no context needed. If you take into consideration that it is on Wall Street (NOT where it was originally placed) then I think the idea that it is meant to represent a bullish market is a natural public perception.

        Again, whatever the artist’s original intention was doesn’t matter much, when public perception has dictated the meaning of the sculpture for almost 30 years now. The Fearless Girl would be a strong piece as a standalone, the bull is not needed. What about her posturing does not indicate strength and fearlessness to you guys? Whether the bull is there or not, the piece successfully conveys the artist’s intention IMO.

        Most artists who create public art understand that art existing in a public space no longer belongs to them: it belongs to the public. I think most artists would welcome the opportunity for another artist to challenge their piece in a visual manner. Di Modica’s bull had a good 30 year run but after this past election, maybe it’s just time to change the meaning.
        Because 2017 is a different world than 2016, or the 29 years before that. I’ve already over-commented on this thread so I’ll just say this one last thing: Di Modica is being a f*cking baby.

    • Chaucer says:

      YES!

      Don’t get me wrong, I love Fearless Girl. But she doesn’t fit here. How great would she be outside the White House?

    • Josephine says:

      Yes, yes, I love your idea of placing her next to the bull, to represent a perhaps different sort of strength, but one just as valuable and powerful. They have changed the meaning of his art, there is no doubt of that, and the placement of the girl almost seems to require his art, which is indeed appropriation.

    • Lady D says:

      @Sassback: I didn’t read anything in his stated message that said he was upset because and about “a corporation trying to capitalize on this new movement of women in America ” Where did you get that he was upset about that?

      • Sassback says:

        He said so himself Fearless girl was the product of The corporation and that was part of the issue with it- if a corporation produces art, at least to him, message is not as strong as his message which was produced by himself as an artist and not represented By a business. What Else on earth could he have meant? he’s annoyed because he feels his artistic statement is more pure and the statement made by the statue ruins his statement.

  21. TeamAwesome says:

    This is so interesting to me. My first reaction is to say this guy can take all the seats while Fearless Girl stares HIM down as well. Once you’ve put your art in the world, the world gets to have their opinion.
    My husband is an artist, so I know that the relationship of an artist to their work is complicated.
    If you knew nothing about it, it would be easy to assume it was one big installation. Can the city not put up a plaque or something?

  22. BJ says:

    I have two words for him.
    Boy Bye

  23. Ashley.Nate says:

    Typical fragile male ego

  24. Who ARE These People? says:

    A Jane Ruffino on Twitter:
    Grown human man says bronze image of small girl violates his rights by presenting as female and existing

  25. Zh says:

    Why are women and, therefore, feminism symbolically often depicted as little girls in little dresses? Is it to do with potential and youth, or is it entwined with the idea of “our daughters”? I always find it puzzling and slightly dismissive and/or belittling, but maybe it’s just because I don’t know the meaning of it. I’m not American or European so wonder if there’s a cultural reason for this.

    • Kitten says:

      We live in a country where the President thinks it’s ok to sexually assault women and to talk about women in a degrading and disgusting manner. We have a President who thinks men should govern and women should stay at home. Maybe the little girl is meant to inspire our girls who are being sent the message early on in life that their needs don’t matter, that they aren’t valued contributors to our society. Maybe the statue tells girls that they are important sources of strength and power. I don’t know, man, but I find that message to be a nice departure from the Disney princess.

      Man, y’all are so damn cynical lol.

      • Zh says:

        Thank you for replying. I wasn’t casting shade, just genuinely asking if there’s a longstanding reason for the girls=women thing that I’ve seen plenty of during my time in US/Europe. It’s just something that we don’t do where I’m from. Anyway, let’s call it “cultural differences”. No offence, or cynicism, meant.

    • Snowflake says:

      I don’t know why. Good point though.

    • KLO says:

      @Zh interesting point!
      I think it might be (little girls in little dresses) because that is the age when the suppression starts. There was a study done where the self-esteem and confidence of girls start plummeting once they get out of the toddler age and start looking like female humans.
      Tiny little girls are still just as fierce and courageous as tiny little boys but when the society is done with them (somewhere by the early twenties), they are shadows of their former personalities.
      Perhaps it is an empowering thought for little girls to fight and hold on to their self-esteem and self-value regardless of the patriarchal upbringing.
      That is one way of seeing it. Could discuss more but post would be too long.

    • detritus says:

      I can think of two reasons, but its personal opinion only
      1. Children in art symbolize innocence, joy and promise. They show the potential. Especially when trying to create change, children are use as a symbol of out with the old in with the new.

      2. as a culture we have an obsession with youth, especially in women. we’ve lost the idea of three women being strength, the maid, the mother and the crone, as women’s value became less about being mothers and more about being sexual objects.

  26. HK9 says:

    As an artist, he should remember that the purpose of art is to get people to discuss things and challenge the way they see the world. To me, this is doing exactly what it was supposed to do. Personally, I’d have a lot more respect for him if he simply voiced his opinion, but refrained from suing. This just makes him look petty.

  27. TheOtherOne says:

    Please get this man a pacifier and a blankie.

  28. LinaLamont says:

    No.
    He installed the bull, illegally, at night. There was a public outcry to keep it.
    Nope. The girl is legal. The public wants her. Double standards. If someone has to go, let it be the bull… which, btw, is a perfect symbol for DiModica’s lawsuit.

    Hypocrisy at its finest. He’s like someone who entered the country illegally, was given amnesty and made a citizen and, now, wants to block others from entering the country… legally.
    Sound familiar?

  29. Perpetua says:

    These comments make me feel gross

  30. Kitten says:

    How do people think that public art is commissioned? You would think from the comments that this is the first time the public has seen a privately-funded piece of public art lol.
    Maybe people don’t understand how challenging it is to receive public funding for these kinds of things, particularly in cities that are suffering economically as art endowments are usually the first to get cut.

    Lot of very beautiful and impactful pieces of public art are funded either privately or with a mix of private and public funding. As someone who loves public art and firmly believes there isn’t enough of it, I don’t give a flying f*ck who pays for it. As long as I get to see it, I’m happy.

  31. robyn says:

    I love the fearless girl statue and it is more than symbolic that an experienced woman lost the last presidential election to a man known for BULLshitting his way through life and now in his so-called presidency.

    The statue is perfectly placed!!! I get why the original artist would be miffed about changing the intent of his work but wouldn’t it wonderful if he could be open-hearted and wise enough to let it stand and to applaud the sorely needed broader statement that this beautiful little addition makes.

    If the bull statue was originally intended to represent the strength of the American people, imo many American people overlooked a lot of awful disgusting things to vote for a male chauvinist lying pig with dubious ties to a foreign country. If push came to shove I would get rid of the bull and let the girl statue stand.

  32. Katherine says:

    1. That girl is a beautiful artistic expression, I hope it (the statue) stays.
    2. He has a case imho about the new statue distorting his artistic vision since the bull has been reframed to now represent something he did not intend. What is causing me to give the sculptor a fierce side eye is the fact that his work intended to represent freedom, peace, love etc – all the good stuff – and now it has been reconceptualized and incorporated into something that represents the same sentiment! Only better! Including the less powerful – women and children and minorities overall!

    • Josephine says:

      I think that’s a stretch. To the extent that the new installation represents peace, love, freedom, etc., it’s only because his work is now depicted as a negative, destructive force willing to apparently run down a little girl to get what it wants, while only the new piece represents the good stuff. And I say this as someone who loved it when I first saw it. I thought the placement was clever and thought-provoking. But as I said above, I think each piece now deserves its own stage. The little girl doesn’t need the bull, and I don’t find her more powerful for it. She deserves to shine on her own and not be derivative of an existing piece.

    • jinni says:

      That is statue depicting a little white girl, so how in the world does she represent us PoC minorities?
      I know feminist like to act like they care about all of us but time and time again they only seem to prove that white women are the only ones they fight for, so no, this statue is not representative of anyone but white women and children.

      Also, I agree with Josephine. Without the Bull the girl statue loses most if not all of its meaning. While the a bull alone still holds up. So how is the statue truly empowering if it depends so heavily on the other?

  33. Jamie42 says:

    I have to agree with the artist’s complaint, and I hope he wins. The Bull is a work of art, and learning its history makes me like it even more.
    Fearless Girl is dangerously close to kitsch.

  34. Veronica says:

    Hold on while I roll my eyes at this man telling me “peace, strength, and love” is being represented by a large, hypermasculime, aggressive animal. American patriarchal values at their best.

    If they want to move the statue, fine, but it’s a piece that people clearly like. I think the confidence in her poise makes it work just fine either way – I actually hadn’t realized it was facing the bull until I saw this post.

    • LinaLamont says:

      “…the bull’s message was supposed to be ‘freedom in the world, peace, strength, power and love.’”
      Bullsh*t. The original intent was to show that Wall Street could rise again after the ’87 crash. It’s about optimism of Wall Street and prosperity. It never had anything to do with freedom and peace. He’s just making crap up, now.

  35. Littlestar says:

    As an artist I can agree that the Fearless Girl statue is interacting with the bull statue and it changes the context of the bull by doing that, it’s not merely sharing a space but a direct interaction. I can see why an artist would be upset by that.

    • hmmm says:

      So, yeah, what is his issue with the change in context? That it’s better than his original one? He could have lauded it as a collaborative, dynamic, evolving effort and gotten more kudos. But no, a girl got in the way of his bull. Bummer.

      Fact is, standing all alone there in the square, it’s just a representation of a bull. Big deal. I bet he just doesn’t want to share. And share something that’s become bigger than the parts.

  36. Jane says:

    The bull looked ridiculous on its own. The little girl added something more meaningful to it. Both statues should stay where they are.

  37. M.A.F. says:

    Some of the reports about this is are misleading. There are plenty of write up and reports that explain the original message behind the Charging Bull. And by placing the Fearless Girl in front of the Bull changes that message period. But hey, if people want to disregard the artists original message and call bullshit and just claim “oh, he’s just being a man”, then that’s on you. Frankly, there is room for both without having to tear the other one down.

  38. The Voice says:

    From what I’ve read the artist installed it without permission and promoted his work. When it was well received by the people of New York he offered it for sale on the condition it wouldn’t be moved. He owns the copyright for it and proceeded to sue the pants off Walmart and Lehman Brothers when they used its image.

    I don’t see how that works. I drop this statue off in the dead of night and with no permission. The people like it! Pay me. And I will profit off it because I own it even though I tried to sell it. Sounds like he wants all the things. I have no sympathy for him or his “cause.”

    Fearless girl can face nothing and still speak to me. I don’t care that it was installed by an ad agency or that it was commissioned by the #3 hedge fund in the world. Their mission was to bring about awareness of the lack of female executives in companies and to persuade companies to do something about it or be dropped from their portfolio. It’s working.

  39. Call me AL says:

    1. I love the tweets, especially the NYC Mayor!!!
    2. Umm, it’s an art INSTALLATION, isn’t that the point, that you kind of put it there for people to do with it what they will?

  40. Amelie says:

    It’s interesting because so many people both criticized and praised the company behind the installment of the Fearless Girl for International Women’s Day. I realize that company doesn’t have many women in exec roles and the statue is indirectly an ad for their company and that it wasn’t a feminist statue blahblahblah. But honestly I can never remember the name of the company, I always have to look it up so it’s not the first time that comes to mind when I see the statue. The statue was created by a woman (Kristen Visbal) which to me is even more important since female artists are not as celebrated in public art installations as male artists are.

    I do understand where the artist of the charging bull is coming from but once you put art into the public sphere, you no longer own the work’s meaning and its symbolism is subject to change. It might have once meant prosperity and financial optimism after the stock market crash but now it just stands as an aggressive symbol of Wall Street culture. And let’s not kid ourselves, a charging bull is inexorably associated with masculinity and testosterone. I don’t see it as a symbol of optimism. I see a charging bull, I’m not gonna get the heck out of the way.

  41. Dottie Hinkle says:

    Have her stand outside of the white house or a planned parenthood

  42. Kasey says:

    I have to kind of side with the dude on this one. The fearless girl is awesome but it does change the whole dynamic. She is an advertising ploy, she’s not part of a theme with the bull, she should’ve been placed somewhere else. He has a right to say it infringes on his work and its meaning as she’s obviously placed there to make a statement that includes the bull.

  43. uvvc says:

    I agree with the Bull sculptor, here is why:

    His creation is made to look like an overly masculine, rough, toxic and bitterly misogynistic symbol now. They created a story around his creation, and retrofitted this old piece of art into some trite context, and made it look like something else by completely changing his intentions. The guy himself is probably a feminist. Bull, while a typically forceful, resilient and yes; ‘masculine’ animal, is made to look like the villain. The crushing weight of society on women!

    But it turns out the bull was charging FOR women as well. That is what he states. Now, it looks like the antagonist.

    btw, Alice in Wonderland is the symbol of 2017 female empowerment now? A cute little girl with a sassy ponytail and a milkmaid dress? Pls.

    I’ll take the bull over that.

    • Ange says:

      “His creation is made to look like an overly masculine, rough, toxic and bitterly misogynistic symbol now”

      But to me thanks to the pervasively toxic culture surrounding Wall St it came to look like that anyway. It represented that win at all costs/bro club mentality that is definitely detrimental to women. Whatever the artist meant originally the public has created their own meaning for that statue and it was there long before Fearless Girl.

  44. Hehehe says:

    The company that commissioned fearless girl intended to use Charging Bull as part of their installation. They mention it in a press release that having her stare the bull down would send a message about hiring more women at Wall Street firms. Therefore they have hijacked his work. I totally get his point. The bull is an awesome piece of work. And why did they have to use a little girl to promote women. Why not a statue of a full grown female? The artist has a valid point about his work was changed.

  45. Hehehe says:

    Also the index firm only has 3 women on its board out of 11

    • Nicole (the Cdn one) says:

      My law firm only has 25% of the partnership that are women. Doesn’t mean that when we do something that empowers women in our profession, it has no validity. It means that the 25% of us have effected at least some change on the 75% so that someday, we’ll be more than 25%.

  46. Elizabeth says:

    Maybe they should put the two next to each other and facing in the same direction. That way, they’ll both be taking on the world.

  47. Susan says:

    You’d think he’d be thrilled that this new piece adjacent to his own has now changed the meaning and added something new for people to ponder. When an artist installs a piece he/she lets it go into the world for everyone to find their own meaning, which will not necessarily be the same as the artists intention. I think it enhances the whole concept, not takes away from it.

  48. Sassafras says:

    I guess I’m in a minority on this, but I’m not too pleased by the fact that this is Fearless Girl…and not Fearless Woman. It’s pandering to the idea that only young women matter, and the younger the better. Yes, I know the hope of the future (traditionally) rests upon our youth but this statue comes off as infantilizing women to me.

  49. Giulia says:

    A global investment firm has used a global advertising firm to create a faux work of guerrilla art to subvert and change the meaning of his actual work of guerrilla art. That would piss off any artist.
    https://gregfallis.com/2017/04/14/seriously-the-guy-has-a-point/