‘Fearless Girl’ challenged: Wall St bull sculptor claims new statue infringes copyright
The creator of Wall Street’s iconic ‘Charging Bull’ statue is calling for the removal of the corporate-financed ‘Fearless Girl’ sculpture recently placed nearby, claiming it commercially exploits his work by appearing to stare down the bovine.
‘Fearless Girl’, sculpted by Kirsten Visal, was erected late on March 7, 2017 – the evening before International Women’s Day.
The piece was financed by State Street Global Advisors, a subsidiary of the world’s third largest asset manager, State Street Corp, and advertising firm McCann New York to highlight the need for more women in corporate leadership.
It was originally designed to be a temporary addition to Wall Street but last month New York Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed it would remain a fixture until after International Women’s Day 2018. Over 36,000 people have signed an online petition calling on de Blasio to make the statue a permanent feature on Wall Street.
The creator of the iconic Wall Street bull statue, Italian born sculptor Arturo Di Modica, held a press conference with his lawyers on Wednesday explaining why he is calling for the statute, which he brands an "advertising trick," to be moved to another location.
Di Modica’s lawyers say their client should have been consulted as the “Fearless Girl incorporates and depends on charging bull,” which they claim equates to the commercialization and exploitation of his work.
“Gender equality is serious issue, none of us here are in any way not proponents of gender equality but there are issues of trademarks and copyright that need to be addressed,” said attorney Norman Siegel.
Siegel said they are asking for the statue to be moved to another location, noting they had lots of ideas of possible homes for her. He said his client is also seeking damages for the violation of legal statutory rights
Di Modica has been accused online of apparent sexism for his protestation of the statue, with the city’s mayor leading the charge.
Men who don’t like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl. https://t.co/D2OZl4ituJ— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 12, 2017
This is rich. Charging bull was put up w/out permission under cover of night. This is public art manspreading. https://t.co/8tulvirV5d— Sam Sanders (@samsanders) April 12, 2017
"Charging Bull" artist wants "Fearless Girl" removed, says it distorts his art. Society's been distorting it's vision of women for years.✌🏻— Jamie (@DarjeelingJim) April 12, 2017
I think we have reached peak white male fragility. Arturo Di Modica, I strongly recommend you walk this shit back. Not a good look, champ. https://t.co/BJwTxtTkSz— Charles Clymer (@cmclymer) April 12, 2017
"In 1987 Di Modica installed the charging bull without a permit in the dead of night" Yeah....no rights are given there. Whomp Whomp sexism https://t.co/7Vb6z1JcZj— Da7e Gonzales (@Da7e) April 12, 2017
Di Modica, aged 76, appeared fragile as he spoke at the news conference reiterating that he agrees with gender equality and questioning why people were attacking him. He installed the bull in front of the New York Stock Exchange in 1989 to highlight America's financial resistance following the 1987 stock market crash.
The fixture was removed by police as he had not received permission from the city for its addition, but was later reinstalled after public outcry.
The artist told the press Wednesday that he invested $300,000 of his own money and two years work to make ‘Charging Bull’ a reality. The piece, which has been standing for more than 27 years, was intended as a message of “freedom in the world, peace, strength, power and love.”
Di Modica has previously sued several corporations including Wal-Mart for unauthorized use of the bull’s image in advertising campaigns. In 2009 he sued publisher Random House for using a photo of the Charging Bull on a book about the collapse of Lehman Brothers.