By now, we’re all familiar with the new addition to New York City’s Financial District: The “Fearless Girl” sculpture, positioned in front of the New York Stock Exchange’s famed “Charging Bull.” Though the statue was supposed to stick around only for a short time after International Women’s Day, it was announced last month that it will be a more permanent fixture—but the bull’s creator, Arturo Di Modica is none too pleased with the decision.
According to the Associated Press, Di Modica is accusing the city of violating his legal rights with its decision to allow the new sculpture to stay opposite his bull. The artist, who has previously called the statue an “advertising trick,” believes that the “Fearless Girl” changes the meaning of his piece into something negative, thus infringing on his rights as an artist. Di Modica will reportedly hold a news conference Wednesday to discuss his qualms.
Initially installed in honor of International Women’s Day by ad agency McCann New York and investment firm State Street Global Advisors, the “Fearless Girl,” by artist Kristen Visbal, first appeared on March 7 and became an instant sensation. The bronze representation of a 4-foot-tall girl, hands on hips, staring down the 11-foot bull is a metaphor for all strong women around the world, and it is so powerful, in fact, that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio extended the temporary city permit for the statue from April 2, 2017, to February 2018.
What’s more, the irony of the initial circumstances of Di Modica’s own sculpture is not lost on us. In 1987, immediately following the stock market crash, the artist installed the now-iconic bronze bull in front of the New York Stock Exchange without a permit, without warning, in the middle of the night. The “Charging Bull” was, like the “Fearless Girl,” a symbol of empowerment that stood for the resilience and strength of America.
With public support, the bull was later moved from its initial location, though allowed to stay permanently in the Financial District.
A formal lawsuit has yet to be filed, but it seems that the “Fearless Girl” will have to continue standing up for herself in the weeks to come.
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