'Charging Bull' sculptor accuses NYC of violating his rights

Gladys Abbott
April 21, 2017

Even the method of the statue's installation - dropped unheralded in its spot overnight - paid homage to the bull it confronts. Without the bull, the Fearless Girl would be incomplete.

Artist Kristen Visbal's figure was first placed on a traffic island near Wall Street on March 7, on the eve of International Women's Day, to make a point: There's a dearth of women on the boards of the largest USA corporations.

However, Arturo Di Modica, the artist who created the famous "Charging Bull" has now accused New York City of violating his legal rights by allowing the opposing statue to be installed.

Di Modica calls the statue an "advertising trick" created by two corporate giants - State Street Global Advisors, the Boston-based investment giant, and McCann, its NY advertising firm. The Italian immigrant intended the work to bolster American traders' spirits after the stock crash of a few years before - though the NYSE, it must be said, was not pleased with its holiday gift, hefting away the bull by the end of the day. Visbal placed the statue that evening as a revolutionary art, with people saying that it "represents the future".

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The statue of the girl with her hands defiantly on her hips has become a tourist sensation since she was installed across from the bull last month.

As for the index fund, State Street wrote in a statement that it was "grateful" to the city of NY for its support of what the Fearless Girl represents: "the power and potential of having more women in leadership", it said.

Di Modica himself plopped his 3 1/2-ton bovine beneath a Christmas tree in front of the New York Stock Exchange in December 1989 without a permit. He considered the girl as an advertising trick done by SSGA, which altered the message of his artwork. Without it, it would be incomplete; thus the statue derived its name and presence because of the bull.

"There are issues of copyright and trademark that needed to be - and still need to be - addressed", Di Modica's attorney, Norman Siegel, said at the news conference. The team also filed for Freedom of Information Act requests and other documents to seek agreeable conditions to have the girl relocated and the bull's creator recompensed for intellectual property damage.

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