Visual Arts

‘Charging Bull’ artist plans to fight placement of ‘Fearless Girl.’ Is it sexist?

The “Fearless Girl” statue faces Wall Street’s charging bull statue in New York. The sculptor of Wall Street’s “Charging Bull” says New York City is violating his legal rights by forcing his bronze beast to face off against the “Fearless Girl.” Artist Arturo Di Modica said Wednesday, April 12, that the new neighboring statue changes his bull into something negative.
The “Fearless Girl” statue faces Wall Street’s charging bull statue in New York. The sculptor of Wall Street’s “Charging Bull” says New York City is violating his legal rights by forcing his bronze beast to face off against the “Fearless Girl.” Artist Arturo Di Modica said Wednesday, April 12, that the new neighboring statue changes his bull into something negative. AP

Arturo Di Modica, the artist who created the “Charging Bull” statue, has a problem with the “Fearless Girl” statue that was recently placed near his artwork in New York City’s financial district. And he plans to challenge it, he announced Wednesday.

Di Modica, who installed the bull statue in the middle of the night without a permit in 1987 as a symbol of American resilience, argued that “Fearless Girl” has corrupted the bull’s artistic integrity, according to the Washington Post. “Fearless Girl” was installed March 7 and was originally only slated to stand facing the bull for about a month, but New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio extended the statue’s permit until April 2018 following public pressure.

Important to Di Modica’s argument is the background behind “Fearless Girl.” The investment firm State Street Global Advisors commissioned Delaware-based artist Kristen Visbal to create the statue, and Visbal has told CNN Money the statue is about “girl power” and meant to remind the overwhelmingly male majority on Wall Street “that we are here, that we are heard, that we are permanent.”

But Di Modica has said he sees something insulting to the integrity of his artwork, saying “Fearless Girl” is not a symbol as much as a marketing ploy organized by State Street’s advertising partner McCann. He said his protest is not meant to snub the efforts for gender equality but to protect the original artistic intent of the “Charging Bull,” which has been warped into something negative by “Fearless Girl.”

It inspired fierce debate on social media. Some insisted Di Modica’s take was just an example of the sexism that “Fearless Girl” was created to protest, including Mayor de Blasio.

Certain tweets were more explicit, saying the bull statue already had implications of hyper-masculinity and a statue of a little girl staring it down had not created that impression.

Others argued Di Modica had a right to defend his artwork.

And still others avoided the sexism debate but said Di Modica had no case.

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