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Wall Street's Bull Statue Was Once Totally Illegal

Italian-American artist Arturo Di Modica created the 7,100-pound sculpture named Charging Bull that greets anyone walking down Wall Street in New York City. It has become an iconic emblem of the financial district. Modica’s aim was to encourage the financial sector after the stock market crash of 1987. What you probably don’t know about the bull is that is was donated to Wall Street with no permit, and no one was expecting it when it appeared on December 15, 1989. It was “guerrilla art.” So the city paid to have it hauled away!

There are lots of examples of guerilla art that’s both easy to install and easy to remove; graffiti comes to mind. But sculpture, especially bronze sculpture, is not. “Bronzes are not easy to haul around,” says Dianne Durante, author of Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan: A Historical Guide. “There's a Municipal Art Commission that's in charge of all sculptures on city property, and they have a process for approval before they allow a sculpture to be installed.”

Charging Bull was eventually brought back to Wall Street, although its ownership status is still a bit confusing. Read all about it at Atlas Obscura.   

(Image credit: Flickr user htmvalerio)


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