Italian-born sculptor Arturo Di Modica crafted his famous “Charging Bull” statue in response to the stock market fiasco of 1987. Designed to capture the toughness of the American people, it’s now thought of as a symbol of liberty and free markets by many.
So, it’s not all that surprising that Di Modica now takes issue with the “Fearless Girl” statue placed in a spot to deliberately undermine his piece:
Then last month, on International Women’s Day, a new statue of a symbolically brave “Fearless Girl” stole its spotlight — and, Di Modica says, fundamentally corrupted the artistic integrity of his “Charging Bull.”
As “Fearless Girl” was heralded by many as a symbol for female empowerment, Di Modica doled out sharp criticism, casting the statue as not art, but a publicity stunt by the gender-oriented company that commissioned it.
He forcefully advocated against a global campaign to make “Fearless Girl” a permanent fixture, but fans persevered, persuading New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to extend the statue’s permit through April 2018.
On behalf of his bull, Di Modica won’t back down.
Frankly, Di Modica makes a fair point.
By placing the statue of a young girl, arms akimbo with a defiant expression, where it currently is, there are many messages that can be inferred. All of them attach negative connotations to Di Modica’s bull, when his work had the opposite intention.
Then there’s the fact that this piece of art is just marketing for an index fund.
The Gender Diversity Index SHE was turning a year old when “Fearless Girl” appeared. The index was created by State Street Global Advisors, the same entity that commissioned the statue.
If that’s not enough, the plaque at the base of “Fearless Girl” states:
Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.
State Street denies that she’s “angry” at the bull, but admits that the point is to critique it:
When “Fearless Girl” first appeared, State Street chief marketing officer Stephen Tisdalle told the New York Times that the Boston-based firm has been vocal in promoting gender diversity in the financial sector. Its own 11-member board of directors has three women.
“What this girl represents is the present, but also the future,” Tisdalle told the Times. “She’s not angry at the bull — she’s confident, she knows what she’s capable of, and she’s wanting the bull to take note.”
Why the assumption that Di Modica’s bull somehow intended to discount the toughness of American women just because he used a male creature for the symbolism? Does Lady Liberty need a “Fearless Boy” staring her down?
“Fearless Girl” also gives the impression to many that feminism stands opposed to liberty and free markets, against the pursuit of prosperity. After all, isn’t gender diversity the only thing that matters anymore?