Sculptor of bull statue says ’Fearless Girl’ is attacking the bull and distorting the message of his art.
The sculptor of Wall Street’s "Charging Bull" statue is seeing red over New York City’s decision to keep in place the "Fearless Girl" sculpture that now stares it down, saying the adjacent art has changed the meaning of his work and violated his legal rights.
"Charging Bull" has stood south of Wall Street for nearly 30 years and the Italian-American artist who created it alleged on Wednesday that "Fearless Girl" breached his copyright, distorted his artistic message and should be moved elsewhere.
"It’s really bad," sculptor Arturo Di Modica, 76, told reporters, his voice thick with emotion and barely audible. "She’s there attacking the bull."
The 50-inch girl stands fists on hips on a cobble stone plaza, eye-balling the 11-foot bull that has occupied the space in Manhattan’s financial district for nearly three decades.
Initially installed to mark International Women’s Day on March 8, the girl statue was meant to be removed on April 2. But the city extended its stay amid ebullient interest on social media, generous press attention and at least two petitions.
"How did the process happen and should permits be revoked?" the attorney, Norman Siegel, said, adding that his client ought to have been consulted.
"He should have been asked, never was. There are copyright and trademark infringement issues."
State Street Global Advisors, a subsidiary of State Street Corp, said it financed the installation by artist Kristen Visbal to highlight the need for more women on corporate boards.
Twenty-five percent of the largest 3,000 US companies have no female directors, State Street noted at the time.
Siegel said the intent was less high-minded, adding, "They did it for commercial purposes."
The 3,200kg bull itself originally appeared as guerrilla art, installed unofficially in front of the New York Stock Exchange by Di Modica in 1989 and intended to convey the fighting spirit of the United States and of New York.
After police seized the sculpture, public outcry led the city’s parks department to reinstall it days later nearby at its current location.
Siegel said they want the girl sculpture moved and for Di Modica to be awarded damages for the violation of his legal, statutory rights.
"Very simply we request respectfully that the ’Fearless Girl’ statue be removed," said Siegel, calling for damages to be awarded for the "violation" of his client’s statutory rights.
"Fearless Girl", he suggested, could be relocated outside any number of New York firms with poor records on gender equality, or indeed in any other US city.
"None of us here today are in any way not proponents of gender equality but there are issues of copyright and trademark," he said.