On March 7th, the eve of this year’s International Women’s Day, the “Fearless Girl” statue was placed on Wall Street as a symbol of the power that having women take up leadership positions holds. It specifically tackles and seeks to call attention to the gender wage gap and the lack of gender diversity on corporate boards. The statue, commissioned by State Street Global Advisors and sculpted by artist Kristen Visbal, demonstrates a brave girl, posed with her fists on her hips, standing up to the renown “Charging Bull” statue.
Upon hearing news of this, the sculptor of “Charging Bull”, Arturo Di Modica, became furious, claiming that the presence of “Fearless Girl” serves as a distortion of his art, which he created 30 years ago in light of the stock market crashes of the late 1980s.
His lawyers have also stated that “Fearless Girl” has undermined the true meaning of the bull, which Di Modica has expressed as “freedom in the world, peace, strength, power and love”. In the words of Di Modica, “She’s there attacking the bull”. It is particularly because of this concern that the artist and his team of lawyers have proposed that “Fearless Girl” be moved elsewhere.
In response to this, Mayor Bill De Blasio, who has repeatedly expressed his support for “Fearless Girl”, once again took his platform to Twitter, where he stated “Men who don’t like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl”.
As mentioned, this is not the only case in which the mayor has spoken out on his approval of the statue. Last March, he called the statue a symbol of “standing up to fear, standing up to power, being able to find in yourself the strength to do what’s right”. He also mentioned that it could not have been implemented at a better time, considering the recent inauguration of President Donald J. Trump and the women’s marches that followed it.
It is because of positive reactions, such as that of the mayor, that “Fearless Girl” is set to stay for at least another year. This is also what served as Di Modica’s motive in speaking at a news conference in Midtown Manhattan last Wednesday.
It was in this conference that Di Modica explained how he will be challenging the city officials who signed off on the permit allowing “Fearless Girl” to stay. One of his lawyers, Norman Siegel, claimed that he had filed Freedom of Information requests for city records, including those demonstrating the procedures that had been followed.
Along with this, Di Modica’s team of lawyers also sent a variety of letters to officials such as the mayor; Ronald P. O’Hanley, the president and chief executive of State Street Global; and Harris Diamond, the chairman and chief executive of McCann Worldgroup, State Street Global’s marketing agency. The demand for the translocation of “Fearless Girl” was included in these letters.
According to State Street Global spokesperson, Anne McNally, the firm is still reviewing the letter. She also expressed their gratitude for the multitude of people who have responded so positively to the “Fearless Girl” statue and all that it represents.
While the sorting out of the conflict amongst the statues is still in progress, Siegel has communicated his hope for a peaceful end to the debate. However, he also has included the possibility of a future lawsuit.