Bull chal­lenges the Fear­less Girl

Sculp­tor says statue vi­o­lates artis­tic copy­right

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - BUSINESS - Andrew Fi­field Metro | Toronto

Wall Street’s Fear­less Girl has spent weeks in a star­ing match with Charg­ing Bull, and the bull blinked first.

The statue of the stead­fast girl, which ap­peared on March 7 to mark In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day, was cre­ated by artist Kris­ten Vis­bal and was com­mis­sioned by a New York ad­ver­tis­ing firm and a Bos­ton in­vest­ment bank as a pointed mes­sage to cor­po­rate Amer­ica about the lack of women in their board­rooms.

How­ever, where oth­ers see an in­spir­ing note for women and girls, the sculp­tor be­hind the bull, Ar­turo Di Mod­ica, sees “an ad­ver­tis­ing trick” that is vi­o­lat­ing his le­gal rights.

“I put it there for art,” the Ital­ian-born artist told Mar­ketWatch in March. “My bull is a sym­bol for Amer­ica. My bull is a sym­bol for pros­per­ity and strength,” adding that Fear­less Girl in­fringes on his artis­tic copy­right by off­set­ting it with a dis­tinc­tively dif­fer­ent el­e­ment.

This week, in a bid to once again make his bull the mas­ter of its do­main, Di Mod­ica has turned to an­other sym­bol for Amer­ica: threats of lit­i­ga­tion.

The Ital­ian-born artist has en­listed a lawyer to chal­lenge city of­fi­cials that granted the per­mit. At­tor­ney Nor­man Siegel says he will be seek­ing the de­ci­sion’s pa­per trail to en­sure proper pro­ce­dures were fol­lowed. At­tor­ney Nor­man Siegel says he will be seek­ing the de­ci­sion’s pa­per trail to en­sure proper pro­ce­dures were fol­lowed.

Per­haps iron­i­cally, Di Mod­ica’s pur­suit may be a vi­o­la­tion of the bull’s own guerrilla past. The 7,000-pound sculp­ture was first dropped in front of the New York Stock Ex­change in the mid­dle of a 1987 night – with­out a per­mit – as a mes­sage of re­silience in the wake of a fi­nan­cial crash. Much like its fu­ture is­land ri­val, the bull im­me­di­ately set the city buzzing and of­fi­cials even­tu­ally ac­qui­esced to in­tense public pres­sure to make the piece a per­ma­nent fix­ture.

For her part, Fear­less Girl’s cre­ator says she has no hard feel­ings. “I love Charg­ing Bull,” Kris­ten Vis­bal told the As­so­ci­ated Press last month. “But women are here, and we’re here to stay.”

Whether she stays or she goes, the res­o­lute sculp­ture has al­ready changed her neigh­bour­hood. “The girl has changed the mean­ing of the bull for­ever,” said David Levi Strauss from the Man­hat­tan School of Vis­ual Arts. “With public art like this, it’s a Rorschach test onto which peo­ple are pro­ject­ing their own opin­ions and feel­ings.”

The girl has changed the mean­ing of the bull for­ever. David Levi Strauss

metronews.ca

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