I assume we all know about the Fearless Girl statue placed on Wall Street facing off the Charging Bull, right? Well the latest contraversy is that an “artist”, who appears to be somewhat of a …. questionably well known individual, has made a poorly executed peeing dog statue and placed it next to the girl, by several accounts only “briefly“. (Hey Acadia, go see if it’s still there, would you? You’re our local man on the scene in NYC.)
Let me break this all down for you so we can either stop or continue getting outraged.
The original Charging Bull was placed as guerilla art in the middle of the night without permission by the sculptor, Arturo Di Modica.
The NYSE officials were not happy to see the bull.
They tried to get the City to remove it. Around 5PM they took matters into their own hands and paid a private contractor to haul the Bull off to storage in Queens.
That Saturday morning New York Post had identified Arturo Di Modica as the local Italian American sculptor responsible. The NY Post’s headlined said “BAH HUMBUG .. N.Y. Stock Exchange grinches can’t bear Christmas-gift bull” with a large front-page photo of the Bull being removed from in front of NYSE.
Its popularity caused the city to move it to a new location and make it permanent.
The Fearless Girl statue was placed in front of the bull on International Women’s Day, March 7, 2017, in the middle of the night, by State Street, a financial firm headquartered in Boston. Many people, including Di Modica, decried the piece as a publicity stunt. However, here is what State Street said and did as a follow up:
The statue is a powerful symbol, but there is also substance behind it. Fearless Girl is part of State Street’s campaign to pressure companies to add more women to their boards. The firm followed up the installation with a letter to the thousands of companies that can comprise the Russell 3000 index on Tuesday asking them to take action to increase the diversity on their boards. There is room for improvement: State Street says that roughly a quarter of the 3,500 companies it sent letters to have no women on their boards.
…The most potent weapon that firms like State Street wield is their ability to vote the shares they own in a company against the company’s existing board of directors. So their engagement can have real consequences.
OK now let’s review what Alex Gardega has to say about why he felt the need to make a sculpture of a dog pissing on the Fearless Girl statue.
“It has nothing to do with feminism, and it is disrespect to the artist that made the bull,” he said. “That bull had integrity.”
My expert analysis
Di Modica’s complaints are invalid. He complained the Fearless Girl was installed without a permit. Well, so was his. That’s a wash. He complained that it changed the meaning of his statue. Well, your statue is public art. It engages with the public, meaning both people and its surroundings. You don’t get to control the environment around it, that’s the definition of public art. If you wanted to control it, you should have put it in a museum or your own house, buddy. Art is open to interpretation and interpretation is objective. There’s nothing you can do about that.
The Fearless Girl certainly generated publicity for State Street, and I’m not here to tell you that financial corporations are going out of their way to do nothing but good for the public. However, it was quickly appreciated as a feminist statement which again, is the public interpreting the art, and that’s how art works. In addition, State Street followed up with concrete actions designed to further women’s equality in a very unequal workforce, so I really don’t see who can have a valid argument with its existence, other than MRAs (that’s Men’s Rights Activists for anybody living under a rock for the last 8 years).
And now we have Gardega. I don’t think this guy gives a single f*** about Fearless Girl, honestly. Either that, or he’s a closet MRA who decided to make his appearance on the scene now. I think he’s a pretty unknown artist who wanted to have an actual publicity stunt himself, so he latched on to something which has caught the attention of the public and tried to insert himself. After all, you can hardly argue that a dog pissing on something is full of integrity, which seems to be his premise for why he objected to Fearless Girl’s presence in the first place – that it disrupted the integrity of Charging Bull.
Until we hear from Acadia about whether the dog is still in place or not I don’t entirely know how short and silly his stunt was, but I wouldn’t even care if he left the stupid dog there because I’m not a hypocrite, and Fearless Girl is also public art and I think you don’t get to say what goes on around public art.
What do you think? How likely do you think it is that Alex’s mom didn’t cut the crust off his sandwich last week and that’s why he was so mad? Let us know below!