‘Fearless Girl’ and ‘Charging Bull’ lurch towards courtroom showdown

Men who don’t like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl”, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted on Wednesday (12 April) in response to the allegation that the beloved statue violates copyright and should be removed.

‘Fearless Girl’ appeared opposite the iconic ‘Charging Bull’ statue in NYC’s Financial District this year to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8. It was installed by financial firm State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) and advertising firm McCann New York to raise awareness of the underrepresentation of women in Wall Street boardrooms. Originally intended for temporary display, the bronze statue has been allowed to stay until March 2018 by Mayor de Blasio after New Yorkers adopted her into their hearts.

Now the Italian-born sculptor behind ‘Charging Bull’ is arguing that the four-foot ‘Fearless Girl’ changes the artistic meaning of his statute and is planning to sue SSGA. Lawyers for Arturo di Modica contend that ‘Fearless Girl’ violates commercial use laws by turning ‘Charging Bull’ into an advertisement for SSGA and that Di Modica’s consent should have been obtained prior to her installation. They believe NYC officials ignored proper procedure when they chose to grant a permit for the statue and are requesting her removal together with the payment of unspecified damages.

Arturo di Modica installed ‘Charging Bull’ in front of the New York Stock Exchange in 1987 without a city permit following an overnight Wall Street market crash. Designed to represent the USA’s resilience in the face of financial collapse it was eventually relocated to its current location in Bowling Green in NYC’s Financial District where it has been allowed to stay ever since by popular demand.

Di Modica expressed dismay over what he perceives as the transformation of his sculpture from a symbol of power into a villain at a press conference held on Wednesday (12 April). “I am not against women… I am against this advertising trick”, he said.

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