Fearless Girl vs Charging Bull: The Legal Fight


Image: @Anthony Quintano

Under the cover of night after the 1987 stock market crash, artist Arturo Di Modica installed a 7,000-lb sculpture of a bronze "Charging Bull" in front of the New York Stock Exchange as a Christmas gift to the people of New York. The bull, Di Modica, had stated, is a symbol of "the strength and power of the American people."

Even though Di Modica's art was a guerilla installation, public outcry when it was impounded by the police led to its permanent installation two blocks south of the Exchange, where it remains as a popular tourist attraction.

Fast forward to today, when artist Kristen Visbal sculpted "Fearless Girl," a girl staring down the bull as a marketing campaign for a stock market index fund comprised of companies that have higher percentage of women in senior leadership roles.

Like the bull, the new Fearless Girl statue was an instant hit. "Fearless Girl stands as a powerful beacon, showing women - young and old - that no dream is too big and no ceiling is too high," wrote public advocate Letitia James to New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.

Di Modica, however, was not amused. He claimed that the Fearless Girl statue "distorts the intent of his statue from 'a symbol of prosperity and for strength' into a villain" and that it was done for commercial gain, as reported by NPR. "That is not a symbol! That is an advertising trick."

Di Modica has vowed to fight the effort to make the Fearless Girl into a permanent art installation. And a fight he's going to get - Mayor de Blasio has tweeted "Men who don't like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl."

What do you think? Should the Fearless Girl Statue remain?




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Indeed this is why it's controversial. But keep in mind that the first artwork itself was illegal - and that the definition of "art" may evolve from the artist's original intention to include the surrounding context (i.e. role of women in Wall Street).
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SO let’s say some new artist makes a group of bronze boys and places them in front of the girl to protect her. Do we then hear the outrage from the left about misappropriating another person’s art? I’m all for the message but the artist needs to develop it without ruining others work. It’s just wrong.
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