I love this sculpture. “Fearless Girl” is me, all the way from the pony tail to the shoes and face turned upward, hands on hips.
But it doesn’t belong where New York City has put it — in opposition to “Charging Bull,” the iconic bronze sculpture that epitomizes Wall Street.
“Fearless Girl” changes “Charging Bull” — and that is not a subjective observation. The two are now in opposition to each other and because they are in relationship, they have become one piece of art. The girl is undeniably standing up to the bull, which is an existential threat to her. A viewer cannot unsee the relationship and view these works of art individually.
The meaning of that relationship may change depending on the viewpoint, but no one can deny that these sculptures no longer stand alone, but are communicating with each other. And that’s not fair to the original work that occupied this space.
“Fearless girl” has altered the meaning of “Charging Bull,” and the artist of the bull has something to say about it. He wants the girl removed. And he’s right.
Naturally this is going to become a raging controversy. She will become the face of feminism. The bull will be the face of sexism. And already Change.org and the progressives have made the girl their cause d’jour.
“Charging Bull” was originally a form of guerilla art, installed in 1987 by Arturo Di Modica, an Italian-American artist who was born in Sicily. It became beloved and was left in place. It remains on loan from the artist to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. If you go to New York City, you’ll want to see it.
Thirty years later, “Fearless Girl,” a sculpture by Uruguayan immigrant Kristen Visbal, was installed as a temporary statement by State Street Global Advisors. It was part of an advertising campaign by McCann New York and was bolted to the ground on the eve of International Women’s Day, March 8, as an advertisement for the company’s “Gender Diversity Index Fund,” which invests in companies run by women.
Now, the progressives, the leftists, and the Change.org petitioners want the statue to stay, and the artist of “Charging Bull” wants it to go. The girl has been channeled into their rage against capitalism and their residual anger at Donald Trump.
“Fearless Girl” was designed to send a message about workplace gender diversity. The statute was to be in place for just a few weeks. It was a commercial venture.
Then, Mayor Bill DeBlasio said the statue could remain until Feb. 18, 2018.
We know what will happen next — there will be protests and women chaining themselves to the statute of “Fearless Girl” to prevent her removal. There will be chanting and pink pussy-hats. It will get ugly.
Both of these works of art are wonderful. Both speak to the vision and power of art to communicate. But they don’t belong together because one artist is having his work fundamentally altered by the other artist, and without his permission.
But there is an easy fix: Put “Fearless Girl” on a swivel. Allow people to rotate her in any direction they choose. If they’d like to take a selfie photo with her in relationship to the bull, so be it, but she can also stand with her back to the bull, as though he’s on her team facing some unknown threat.
What are your thoughts on the controversy? Should “Fearless Girl” stay put, or find a new home?