The Denver Post - - NATION & WORLD - The As­so­ci­ated Press

new york» Should the Fear­less Girl stand up to Wall Street’s Charg­ing Bull for­ever?

That’s the ques­tion New York City of­fi­cials are fac­ing af­ter a statue of a pony­tailed girl in a wind­blown dress went up in front of the bronze bull early this month and im­me­di­ately be­came a tourist draw and in­ter­net sen­sa­tion.

What was in­tended as a tem­po­rary dis­play to en­cour­age cor­po­ra­tions to put more women on their boards is now get­ting a sec­ond look in light of its pop­u­lar­ity, which has spawned an on­line pe­ti­tion seek­ing to keep it.

But does keep­ing the girl past her sched­uled April 2 dead­line for­ever al­ter the mean­ing of the bull? Af­ter all, the 11-foot-tall, 7,100-pound bull has been hugely pop­u­lar in its own right; it was placed in a lower Man­hat­tan traf­fic me­dian in the wake of the 1987 stock mar­ket crash as a sym­bol of Amer­i­cans’ fi­nan­cial re­silience and can-do spirit.

Some fans of the bronze girl al­ready see the bull much dif­fer­ently.

“The bull rep­re­sents men and power,” says Cristina Po­gore­vici, 18, a stu­dent from Bucharest, Ro­ma­nia, who vis­ited the stat­ues this past week. “So she is a mes­sage of women’s power and things that are chang­ing in the world right now.”

Holli Sargeant, 20, a vis­i­tor from Queens­land, Aus­tralia, says the 4-foot-tall, 250-pound bronze girl “is stand­ing up against some­thing, and we see her as pow­er­ful im­age. She rep­re­sents all the young women in the world that want to make a dif­fer­ence.”

Such shift­ing per­cep­tions of the bull — from Amer­i­can hero to vil­lain of sorts — out­rage bull sculp­tor Ar­turo De Mod­ica, who wants the girl gone.

He dis­missed Kris­ten Vis­bal’s statue as noth­ing more than “an ad­ver­tis­ing trick,” not­ing the bronze was a mar­ket­ing ef­fort on the eve of the March 8 In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day by Bos­ton-based State Street Global Ad­vi­sors and its New York ad­ver­tis­ing firm, McCann.

As for his bull, “I put it there for art,” the Ital­ian-born sculp­tor told Mar­ketWatch, which first re­ported his anger. “My bull is a sym­bol for Amer­ica. My bull is a sym­bol of pros­per­ity and for strength.”

The girl’s sculp­tor has no hos­tile feel­ings to­ward the bull.

“I love Charg­ing Bull!” Vis­bal told The As­so­ci­ated Press on Sun­day, speak­ing from her home in Re­hoboth Beach, Del. “But women are here, and we’re here to stay.” BBB

The Charg­ing Bull and Fear­less Girl stat­ues face each other on Lower Broad­way in New York.

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