‘Charging Bull’ Sculptor Feels Violated By ‘Fearless Girl’

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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The sculptor of the famous “Charging Bull” statue in New York City’s financial district is livid about the newly popular “Fearless Girl” statue recently installed facing his prized creation.

76-year-old Arturo Di Modica created the iconic bull in 1987 to celebrate America’s resilience following the stock market crash of 1986. The bull first sat outside the New York Stock Exchange, but was later relocated to a nearby park, where it has been ever since.

For decades, Di Modica’s bull stood alone just blocks from Wall Street, drawing thousands of visitors annually who came to marvel at the bronze statue and take selfies. That recently changed, however, when “Fearless Girl,” a statue featuring a young woman with her hands placed firmly on her hips, was installed opposite his “Charging Bull.”

State Street Global Advisors, a $2.5 trillion asset management firm, commissioned artist Kristen Visbal to create “Fearless Girl.” The firm reportedly wanted a statue to point out the need for more female executives and board members on major Wall Street companies.

“Fearless Girl” became an overnight success after its debut on the eve of International Women’s Day in March. The statue is now used to represent gender equality and diversity in the workplace. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio even threw his full support behind the statue, and promises it will stay put for the foreseeable future.

Di Modica isn’t so quick to jump on the bandwagon. In fact, he is calling on New York City authorities to relocate “Fearless Girl,” claiming it detracts from his artwork and violates his rights as an artist.

His attorneys argue that “Fearless Girl” is merely a derivative piece of Di Monica’s “Charging Bull.” Without Di Monica’s statute, “Fearless Girl” does not have the same draw.

“The statue of the young girl becomes the ‘Fearless Girl’ only because of the Charging Bull: the work is incomplete without Mr. Di Modica’s Charging Bull, and as such it constitutes a derivative work,” Di Monica’s counsel wrote in a letter to State Street Global Advisors CEO Ronald O’Hanley.

To resolve the issue, Di Modica wants some sort of “amicable” agreement. He proposes that the city move “Fearless Girl” to another location, and reimburse him for infringement damages. It remains unclear what damages Di Modica is referencing.

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