Smackdown of the arts: ‘Fearless Girl’ sculpture needs to vacate Wall Street

Smackdown of the arts: ‘Fearless Girl’ sculpture needs to vacate Wall Street
Puella non grata. (Image: Screen grab of Wochit video, YouTube)

[Ed. – Guy’s got a case.  Why should his Charging Bull take on an evocative meaning he never intended, just because somebody came along and put a Fearless Girl in front of it?  Admit it.  They don’t have these problems in other galaxies.]

Wall Street’s Fearless Girl statue has weathered more than her fair share of mischief since she was erected the night before International Women’s Day. …

Now, the sculptor of the decades-old Charging Bull statue the girl “fearless”-ly faces down is claiming she doesn’t belong there in the first place. Artist Arturo Di Modica, who installed his bull sculpture under the cover of night after the 1987 stock-market crash, called on Wednesday for New York City authorities to remove the girl statue, saying it violates his rights as an artist. …

There’s no question that Fearless Girl derives its meaning from its interaction with Di Modica’s piece. Crafted in the same medium as the bull, the girl stands meters away on the traffic island, making what looks to be direct eye contact with the animal. Without Di Modica’s sculpture, Fearless Girl is just a girl. With it, she’s a symbol of women braving the sexual harassment and gender discrimination of Wall Street to rise in a male-dominated field.

Reverse that equation, and you get a good case for Di Modica’s claims. Before Fearless Girl came on the scene, the bull was an encouraging representation of a booming economy. Now, charging toward a tiny human, it’s a stand-in for the gendered forces that work against women’s success in the workplace. This isn’t the same kind of contextual shift that might result from a curator’s juxtaposition of two works; the girl is derivative. Di Modica meant his bull to stand alone—now, it’s as if Visbal and New York City have made a solo piece a diptych without his consent.

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