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Arturo Di Modica has a point (gregfallis.com)
421 points by mpweiher 70 days ago | hide | past | web | 213 comments | favorite



This statue speaks volumes to me, but not in the way it's probably intended to.

This is corporate marketing both adeptly using culture war tactics and manipulating them to its own end. They knew that they could put their ad there and appeal to feminists. They knew that anyone who disagreed with its placement, regardless of their actual reason for objection, would be shouted down as sexist, thereby reenforcing the supporters' convictions. They knew that that interaction would generate extensive buzz.

You can either buy into their message or become a target for those that do, but no matter how you engage with it, you end up pushing their message. Whether you're a die hard feminist, or someone who finds this divisive, you are being manipulated by cynical marketers. They've correctly identified the mechanisms of a current social schism, and subverted them.

Regardless of how you feel about the statue, the campaign is simply genius. This is truly art on a next level. The divide of American culture, the cynicism of corporate America and its willingness to stoop to any level, the furious fighting while blind to the real mechanisms at work. This statue may be the perfect representation of America in 2017.


>no matter how you engage with it, you end up pushing their message. Whether you're a die hard feminist, or someone who finds this divisive, you are being manipulated by cynical marketers

strikingly similar to the pepsi ad team strategy


Except I still don't know who put it there. Sure I could look it up, but it's probably stupid.


State Street Global Advisors.


The thing is, once you put a piece of art out there, you give up control over what that piece 'means'.

Di Modica's bull meant one thing to him when he made it. Now it means millions of different things to the people who consider it every day. If he wanted to maintain full control over the meaning of his work, he should have kept it in his private studio and not let anyone look at it without him standing by to explain the piece and answer any questions.

Similarly, Fearless Girl meant something specific to the asset management company that commissioned it, and something else to the artist who sculpted it. But now it takes on new meaning to everyone who encounters it. What it means to any given individual may or may not incorporate any of the intended meaning, and that doesn't make it any more or less valid.

If digging into the origins of the statues helps give them meaning to you, that's great. But most people who encounter them necessarily appreciate them at face value, and that's great too, because deriving meaning from art is intensely personal.

And beyond taking on different meaning to each individual, as time progresses and the world continues to evolve, so too will the symbolic value of any work of art placed into the world. God knows the Charging Bull has taken on a lot of additional meaning to a lot of people since '08. How did Di Modica feel about how that event 'changed the meaning' of his work?

If you don't like a work of art, that's fine. But no one has the authority to tell someone else what it should mean to them.


I think you're glossing over a major issue here: this is not merely Di Modica's attempt at imposing his vision of his work; it's also about SHE's attempt to import their vision of his work. That strikes me as being at least as objectionable.

Furthermore, works of art - like any communication - depend, in some form, on context. This is an intrinsically fuzzy area, but while it's clearly absurd to let anyone entirely dictate the context, I also feel it's questionable - misleading even - to retrospectively impose context upon them, particularly if that new context serves to misrepresent the original message, and even more so when the new message is so blatantly self-serving without being upfront about it.

Regardless of the personal meaning of art; allowing such deception encourages it, and that undermines our ability to interpret the world around us. It's hard enough without institutionalized deception.

So - fine for the statue to exist; dubious for its advertising nature to be hidden; and definitely unreasonable for it to be allowed to reinterpret others' messages so deceptively.


>so blatantly self-serving without being upfront about it

Is advertising actually self-serving if it isn't upfront about what it being advertised?

This statue is not like a traditional billboard emblazoned with a brand name - the only mention of SHE appears to be on the placard at the foot of the statue. Even then, the mention is ambiguous, as how many people will recognize 'SHE' as a stock tracker rather than just a word with emphasis?

I broadly agree with your sentiment, and I understand there is something discomforting about its origin. However I believe the statue would come across as far more tasteless if SHE were upfront with their branding.


> Is advertising actually self-serving if it isn't upfront about what it being advertised?

Yes, subliminal advertising is a real thing, and other techniques desperately try to hide the fact that it's an ad. Not sure about this case, it's definitely an interesting one.


>Even then, the mention is ambiguous, as how many people will recognize 'SHE' as a stock tracker rather than just a word with emphasis?

All people in this advert's target audience will. If not from the inscription then from the media buzz it has been generating.


That's sometimes called having a public conversation.

Entity A makes a public statement. Entity B makes a public reply.

Public comments are reframed, misrepresented, misunderstood, and recontextualised with varying degrees of honesty and good/bad faith all the time.

I don't think anyone is going to get very far arguing that's not acceptable, because it seems like a straightforward free speech issue.

No one is yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theatre here, or calling for people of a certain race to be rounded up into concentration camps.

It's a political statement about a political statement, and in a free speech context, that's absolutely fine.


Nothing about free speech is straightforward. At least, that's my take: I don't believe free speech by itself has a lot of value. It's just noise, until you can interpret it; it's the message that matters. And in lots of ways, this isn't controversial: when you prevent plagiarism, protect trademarks, punish libel, enforce honesty in advertising, or root out academic fraud you're doing so because free speech alone isn't enough.

Similarly here; just because some people may have a message they should be allowed to proclaim does not mean they should be allowed to (effectively) silence others, nor that they should be able to misrepresent the origins of their message.

I don't think their message is particularly objectionable, but I don't think it's reasonable for it to change the bull's message so severely. Separately I don't think it's healthy for something so context sensitive to be pushed so publicly without proper attribution. Then again, I don't think advertising is good for us, either, so on that front I realize that there's definitely some disagreement.


I wonder how people would feel if somebody made a huge painting with some modern brightly colorful composition and a cutout rectangle in it and the Louvre Museum put the Mona Lisa in the cutout rectangle to symbolize the abandon of old canons for the new.

...First the Mona Lisa's beauty would be diluted then its meaning - the art in it - would be destroyed (not irreparably, you could always take the Mona Lisa out again and put it where it deserves to be - on its own, in the context it deserves).

I love the fearless girl. But the Charging Bull shows the energy of progress, of the economy, of ambition, of growth. Not something I would want anyone to stop.

The advance of the bull's charge means we are all better off, means our children will be better off than we are. It means progress.

...If anything the girl should be riding the bull, pointing her finger forward! Yes a little girl can ride and drive the progress, can lead the charge of progress!

...but she should not be there to stop it. They could have bought an old nazi tank and put her in front of it, and the Fearless Girl would have had exactly the same meaning.

Let the Fearless Girl tell her message. Let the Charging Bull tell its message


"The advance of the bull's charge means we are all better off, means our children will be better off than we are. It means progress."

Yes, and if that's a lie, the Girl takes on more significance. The moral argument for not diluting the Bull message rests on whether its location and attitude represents its known intentions. If this is instead a mistake or a lie, that message is best disrupted. And that's absolutely a political argument, not an artistic argument, but all the same it IS a significant public argument that's increasingly mainstream.

If we're not better off and our children will be poorer and more desperate than we are, then this Bull is not progress and some form of counter-argument needs to be made. And you can defend the Bull's right to be its own statement (not actually challenged by the Girl) but this doesn't extend to legislating that the Bull's statement must go unchallenged. Even by index funds, selling something ;)


In practice, that “modern brightly colorful composition” already exists, in the form of a gaggle of tourists taking selfies in front of the Mona Lisa at all times.


All 100% true… that being said, it's also a little like "Your liberty to swing your fist ends just where my nose begins".

Which is not completely true from all points of view, if I follow you around swinging my fist a millimeter from your nose, it's still an act of violence.

If I paint a tag on the statue, it's vandalism. If I put up a giant dude swinging a croquet mallet next to the Arc de Triomphe, people who appreciated the monument will be upset. (Or Trump next to Mount Rushmore…or a man exposing himself to the girl between her and the bull)

Sometimes art that is motivated by response to another piece of art is itself timeless, and transcends the original. Sometimes it's just crap.

Recontextualizing is an occupational hazard, if you're a statue, or an artist.

We can debate whether the girl elevates the bull, or disrespects and diminishes it. If it's fine art or crap. And if it falls into that grey area of recontextualizing or vandalism.


Di Modica seems perfectly within his rights to feel mad. It would be another thing if he were actually trying to prevent the Fearless Girl from being there. I don't understand that to be the case, though. I, for one, am happy to know this extra context. Understanding all the layers makes the whole installation even more intriguing and effective as an act of art.


I must say I found it a bit tacky to attach one's own sculpture to an existing public work of art. Not that one should never do it, but to me it's a bit like drawing a mustache on Mona Lisa - one could do it for fun, sure, but it's infinitely lower level of art than the original creation.

However, now that I know that this fearlessness symbol is actually part of corporate marketing campaign pushing some obscure (at least for the general public, and I don't care how many billions they manage) investment fund, this acquires so many deeper meanings that I actually start liking it a lot. The symbolism of it so rich, it's even better than selling Che T-shirts with slogans "Fight Capitalism" for $39.99. And much more prominent.

Ah, and yes, I completely agree that the meaning is in the eyes of beholder.


The Bull isn't a public work of art. It was guerrilla art: a very rich man needed to make a big symbol of power and stick it near the Stock Exchange because he thought people should not be intimidated by the latest stock market crash.

That's a pretty specific statement to make, even a political one in its own right, and it wasn't 'public', it was one guy with a lot of money and time on his hands. I've seen art critics be pretty scathing about the Bull on the grounds that it's tacky bad art. It's popular as hell: unsurprising and not really the point.

It was never public art. It's exactly the same context as the Girl, and represents its time about as well as the Girl represents 2017, with all her contradictions and sketchy motivations. The symbolism of the Bull is just as deep as the Girl, it's just that the message is wildly different.


> The Bull isn't a public work of art.

By now it pretty much is, whatever the roots of it were. It has been accepted in the culture.

> I've seen art critics be pretty scathing about the Bull

I've seen art critics being scathing about everything. Literally. That's what they do. Name a work of art, and there are dozens of art critics being scathing about it. Too old, too new, too smart, too dump, to tacky, too conservative, too much meaning, too little meaning... take your pick.

> It's exactly the same context as the Girl

Well, now that we know the Girl is an ad for an (underperforming) index fund, I think the context is slightly different. But I agree that it's both deep and meaningful and reflects the zeitgeist.


No. It is like hanging a painting of a mustache next to the Mona Lisa. This does not damage or physically modify the original art.

You don't even know the name of the investment fund that paid for this statement. Neither do I. The main point obviously wasn't to push the fund, or there would have been a separate statement taking credit.


> This does not damage or physically modify the original art.

Surely, but we're not talking about tort lawsuit here. We're talking about art. From art point of view, it doesn't really matter if you drew it on original or on a reproduction. Well, if you are into performance art it kinda does, but that's not relevant here.

> You don't even know the name of the investment fund that paid for this statement.

Ah, but now I do. That's the point.

> The main point obviously wasn't to push the fund

Or was it? And why would I care what the intent was - it's the result that is interesting. When Homer performed his rendering of Iliad, he probably didn't intend to create timeless classic to be studies thousands of years since. He probably was just trying to earn his evening meal. Who cares? The point is not what they wanted to do, the point is what they did. At least to me.


With your analogy of drawing on the mona lisa you imply that they literally attached one sculpture to another. It's just a poor analogy. If they had welded the noses of the bull and the girl together then it would be an accurate analogy.

I also had never heard of Di Modica. I'm sure recognition/advertising had nothing to do with his original work or current speaking out.


So if I read the article correctly, the bull originally represented the strength of the American people.

The girl is sold as representing the strength of women, but in fact it's a secret ad campaign that was put in front of the symbol representing American strength by a global fund. And people (unknowingly) support the ad campaign and react very aggressively to people questioning the ad and call anyone who questions the ad a woman hater.

And people who want to remove the ad don't care about the symbolism, they think things are fine or they don't like uppity women.

Seems like the perfect representation of 2016.


> And people (unknowingly) support the ad campaign and react very aggressively to people questioning the ad and call anyone who questions the ad a woman hater.

Stuff like this really makes me wonder what is going on with gender politics these days. It's a borderline witch hunt, where people are being singled out as "witches" to short circuit public opinion against them.


Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.


the bull originally represented the strength of the American people

No, that's just what Di Modica told people, presumably to better garner public support. It comes up in the original NYT reporting:

http://www.nytimes.com/1989/12/16/nyregion/soho-gift-to-wall...

You don't plop a massive bull in the middle of the Manhattan Financial District soon after a market crash to generally represent the "strength and power of the American people." It represents exactly what everyone who sees it thinks it represents.


True enough. But while that's the meaning he put into the bull. I would say the bull was the strength of the American people in the face of a market that said otherwise. The girl was put there by an advertising firm --and some people have interpreted it as a native form of women's strength in the face of male dominance (which requires the bull transform from representing America to only representing men and the girl not representing a marketing campaign but all women facing patriarchal oppression). As the article mentions, the bull without the girl retains its strength, the girl without the bull becomes "really confident girl".


in the face of male dominance

It's a big jump to that from "Fearless girl".

the bull without the girl retains its strength

The bull in deep space Queens becomes, I dunno, a pair of brass balls attached to a bull? The whole thing is pretty silly no matter how Di Modica feels about it.


>>in the face of male dominance >It's a big jump to that from "Fearless girl".

In that case, the secondary statue would not have become so symbolic for some (as referenced by current NYC mayor).

>The bull in deep space Queens becomes, I dunno, a pair of brass balls attached to a bull?

I don't think so. It may become detached from the wall street aspect, but it's still a bull ready to charge. It's like saying Michelangelo's "David" loses its meaning if it were moved to a commercial square in Shenzen.

And you may say David is more like the girl in that they're both defiant. However, I think not due to the symbolism behind the David as well as the bull.


It may become detached from the wall street aspect

I.e. it would become something completely different. There is no parallel to David, David's context is not as closely tied to its location - in fact, the statue is not displayed at its originally intended location.


I think I was not clear. Moving the bull might disconnect it from wall street [but not from representing the American economy.] Like the David [sculpture] its meaning can follow it, despite physical shift in location.


but not from representing the American economy

It wouldn't have represented anything other than a bull, had he not put it there, is what I'm getting at.


I wish this kind of stuff was being resurfaced more aggressively in the face of all of this absurd backlash about 'the meaning' of a piece of public art.


Wow, I'm glad I read this! I knew the bull was guerilla art (put there without permission), and I knew (thought) that the girl was, too. And as such I thought it was a brilliant work of appropriation, and should stay.

But it turns out the girl is the result of a marketing campaign by a global advertising corporation for a giant investment fund. That changes everything.

Companies should not be let to use individual artists' work for their own corporate agenda. That's not right, whatever the message.

Di Modica, who still owns the bull, should put it somewhere else -- maybe in a different city.


He should turn it around, to make it obvious that the girl is taunting the bull.


Di Modica, who still owns the bull, should put it somewhere else

Doing that could be an even bigger act of subversion than placing the girl there. What would become the meaning of the girl then?


Not his problem.


Works of art may outgrow their sponsors

Example: works sponsored by the House of Medici


My first thought on this has always been the famous statue of David. It originally had political undertones (David meant to show what a good ruler would be). Later, the Perseus with the Head of Medusa statue was erected. [1] Subversively, the head of Medusa is positioned so that David would be turned to stone. Rather clever, but I think the greatness of David has rather out shown the political commentary there. (All this according to my tour guide.)

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseus_with_the_Head_of_Medus...


    > That changes everything
If I hadn't read the article, I wouldn't have known. I suspect very few people know the provenance of the statue, and, few care.


Do you have a problem with all privately funded art? Because every private entity that funds a work of art has an agenda.

It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the artist's agenda. Should an artist be expected to turn down funding for their work just because they don't like the way the funder interprets their work?


Follow much of the industry sick of NY nonsense and move it to Jersey City.


I love it. There was an article about how the stock exchange actually lives in a nondescript warehouse-looking data center. Put the bull there.


If someone were to add a board of advisors, makeup crew and branding group just behind the girl, that would make the whole piece perfect, in my opinion


Perhaps if the girl were to offer the bull a Pepsi?


Seeing as the index has shares in Pepsi, that would make sense.


It's a form of pinkwashing. The superficial effect is empowerment of women, the underlying intent is to bolster an investment fund's image.

Edit: https://www.ssga.com/global/en/about-us/who-we-are/team.html - at least there are some women on their team I guess. That makes it less pinkwashy.


> at least there are some women on their team

But mostly in staff, not investment, roles. So don't give up your bucket of pink just yet.


Charging Bull is one of the great hustles in art history.

Over the years, Di Modica has made an enormous profit off the sale of replica bulls to cities and wealthy clients. Along the way, he's filed lawsuits and pulled stunts to keep the statue in the public eye, but the motive has always been profit.

Is there anything wrong with profit? No, certainly not. I love the hustle and I love the hustle on top of the original hustle with the addition of Fearless Girl.

It's fine art and a fine hustle. Just like all good art should be. Sit back and enjoy the show.


Spending $350K to build a statue to illegally place in front of a stock exchange is a horribly bad investment. He may have made profit, but it probably took a long time. It's unlikely that was his prime motivation. If it was, he got extremely lucky. Artists typically think in terms of making great art rather than making money.

He should have taken that $350K and put it into stocks in 1987, he would be much better off. I suspect he had other motivations.


It's a bad investment if the goal is an artistic statement. But spending $360K (in 1989 dollars) to advertise your art to the richest people on the planet - not to mention the entire world? Seems like pretty cheap marketing - and that's assuming he really did spend that much.

Side note: this was the third time Di Modica tried the tactic of dropping off gift sculptures. So, if he had that kind of money to burn on "artistic statements", I'd say he was doing a-ok without investing in the market.


>Seems like pretty cheap marketing

In retrospect, yes. The art could have just been permanently removed by the city, and nothing would have come out of it (except some extra fines).


I really doubt that before the bull arrived, a statue that challenged the mythology of Wall St instead of glorifying it would have been allowed to stay for more than a few minutes in that location.

The bull is still there because it makes a statement that appeals to certain people. The amount of money Di Modica spent on it is tangential at best.


>Is there anything wrong with profit? No, certainly not.

Citation needed.

For some people's ethical values (which is the only way to judge "wrong" and "right"), there is.

For one (again in some views) it dilutes the power of art as a statement in itself.


> For one (again in some views) it dilutes the power of art as a statement in itself.

Aestheticism has been used for nearly two centuries now to hustle artists out of their just rewards. However, like any "moral" framework, it works both ways and plenty of artists have used it to hustle wealthy patrons with dulcet dreams sculpted from lofty ideals.

It was all so much easier in the days of Michelangelo when artists expected to be paid like craftsmen. Reading his collected letters is a delight I can highly recommend.


>Aestheticism has been used for nearly two centuries now to hustle artists out of their just rewards. However, like any "moral" framework, it works both ways and plenty of artists have used it to hustle wealthy patrons with dulcet dreams sculpted from lofty ideals.

It's also something several artists truly believed, not used it as a hustle, and never took money to water their art, even if they were offered the chance, and even if they had to live poor because of it.

Including people starting with, and staying committed, either to arts like poetry, which don't come with any rewards and wealthy patrons in the first place, or with genres/attitude towards some otherwise potentially lucrative art that's decidedly non-commercial.

And that's not because they were lured by e.g. some music executives to hustle them out of their just rewards -- they chose to sell less (or not at all) and make no rewards for anybody to steal in the first place. If anything those execs would love for those artists to compromise -- so the total opposite of them using aestheticism to steal their "just rewards".


>He said he wanted the bull to represent “the strength and power of the American people”.

Di Modica can't really remove the bull statue then since that would signify defeat. Likewise with facing it in another direction. As other commenters have said, doing either could potentially start a positioning war anyways.

As far as symbology is concerned, I think the most forward-looking solution is to have the girl statue positioned slightly beside the bull, facing the same direction—signifying that America has her back and that everyone's on the same team.

Obviously the United States has a history of repressing women, so I could see the intentional choice to face her in opposition—if it were a legit piece of guerrilla art, and not an advertisement.

Commissioned corporate art hijacking classic guerilla art by twisting its meaning is, well... bullshit.


Of course he can remove the bull if he wants to. If he wants to send a particularly strong message, he can auction it and stipulation of the sale that the bull may not be positioned anywhere in New York City, and make the subsequent story his art.

A corporate advertising campaign co-opts social media and a vacuous fawning politician into demanding its advert must stay and be worshipped, and the symbol of America's indomitable spirit and dynamism is packed into a shipping container and sent to Shanghai...

I think it'd be hard to say Di Modica had been "defeated" as an artist if that all unfolded... and he'd probably have quite a few million from the sale to take solace in (plus being able to charge the city copyright royalties when it commissions a replica replacement).


>I think it'd be hard to say Di Modica had been "defeated" as an artist if that all unfolded ...

Defeat in context of the principles the statue represents, not Di Modica personally as an artist. Sorry, I should have been more clear.

That said, I suppose the beauty of art is that it's open to interpretation, and even the scenario you outline could be construed as congruent with the principles the statue represents. Removal may not constitute defeat after all.


On the other hand, it could be argued that the statue commissioned by SHE is an example of the very dynamism he was extolling, by using a bull in Wall Street as a symbol of the American people.


Seeing as Shanghai already has paid Di Modica for an edition of the bull installed on the Bund, seems unlikely they'd be interested. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bund_Bull


> Di Modica can't really remove the bull statue then since that would signify defeat.

The bull should be challenging a bear in the Wall St. iconography. I think a bear statue would compliment the bull nicely in this case. And additionally, if you've made it a pedestrian bear then, I am sure, the ad agency would have moved the girl statue away promptly.


I'm not certain it would signal defeat -- the Defiant Girl would be equally defeated without something to oppose.


Somebody should put a statue of a billionaire with his hand pushing the girl towards the bull.


Monopoly man?


What I feel people are missing is that this is a quadruple win.

Di Modico wins, because artists thrive on publicity. If you want people to buy or exhibit your work, they need to know your name. I live half a planet away from the New York Stock Exchange and I hadn't heard of Arturo Di Modica until today (and I think the scupture is amazing). If I read things correctly, this is just the latest in a series of publicity stunts surrounding Charging Bull so I suspect Di Modica knows what he's doing. The outcome (whether Fearless Girl is removed or not) does not impact this at all.

The people of New York win, because now they doesn't have one artwork right out the NYSE that can be interpreted and explained in many ways and makes people think, but they have two, locked in symbiosis. Together with the history and controversy behind both works, possible interpretations of either work individually, and with respect to each other, this is a fantastic and enviable piece of public culture. I envy the tour guides who get to explain this stuff to tourists.

Third wave feminists win, because a large financial organization publicizing a diversity fund in such a public and original way not only helps their cause, but shows how mainstream their cause has become. This is not a fringe movement anymore, and Fearless Girl makes this more apparent than anything recently.

Finally, SSGA wins because their diversity fund gets the publicity they hoped for when commissioning Fearless Girl.

Looks to me like there's no downside.

(sidenote: I don't think what I love more: guerilla art right in investment bankers' faces, or guerilla marketing commissioned by investment banker masquerading as guerilla art right in investment bankers' faces)


I agree. Whatever happens this is great on so many levels. The antagonism between the owners just further heighten the symbolism.


> but shows how mainstream their cause has become.

A marketing gimmick alongside punk?


>> [Fearless Girl is] an example of how commercialization can take something important and meaningful ... and shit all over it by turning it into a commodity.

But it's doing that to a statue celebrating capitalism. The irony goes so deep.


Imo: remove the plaque at least. No free advertising space. Maybe have a vote to keep the statue.


I like this way of thinking.

Additonally, I would say that the bull statue has well and truly earned its place. It is now an established piece of art: it has been subverted.


Art and history are inexorable. Removing the plaque would merely change the asthetic.


And your point is?


That the statue was still created as a corporate advertisement, regardless of whether the plaque is present.


A lot of great art was originally sponsored/commissioned by wealthy corporate benefactors (for example the Catholic Church and nobility in 15th century Italy).

I think it's important that the beholder/public in general is aware of the providence of a piece of art, yet I doubt banning corporate sponsorship of art would be a net positive for society.


It certainly wouldn't be, though in this particular case it could be argued that corporate sponsorship renders the work tasteless.


Di Modica does not have a monopoly on the meaning of his work. If he doesn't like the Fearless Girl, he can take his statue away or try to bring suit or whatever, but it's actually irrelevant to the meaning of his work. Nothing he can do can affix such meaning. The meaning he ascribed to it is but one of many meanings, all equally valid, none preferred. When I first took note of the bull, to me it represented everything that was wrong with Wall St. and America. It was a symbol of what Wall St. was doing to America: charging it down and trampling it to death. This is pretty much the opposite of what Di Modica meant but it's just as right an interpretation as his. After reading this and other articles and knowing the history of the piece, I still prefer my own interpretation and think Di Modica's quite lame. The girl even adds to that. The fact that she represents SHE just adds to the irony. Anyway, my interpretation is not important either, just like Di Modica's isn't. As far as relevance and meaningfulness, they are equal. Di Modica, as an artist, should understand that the best. Too bad he doesn't. The rest are just boring legal issues surrounding a confused artist.


I can't wait for people to start extrapolating conclusions about gender diversity based on the financial success of the SHE fund.


Well it's like most other funds that are managed on social principles -- it underperforms its category peers.


At which point the question becomes: does it react like the Girl, and just stare you down going 'I don't care because this is important on a whole other level'?

Pretty much the whole concept and the intended message of the artwork is 'falling back on power alone is not good enough', or indeed 'justice matters'. In that context, it doesn't matter if the fund underperforms its peers or a simple index fund, it matters whether people can be persuaded to support it on other grounds.


To me this seems to symbolise a different message: "Brave women stopping the progress of capitalism" think what you will of that message... Turn her 180 degrees on the other hand and it's clearly conveying the message "brave women lead the way of capitalist progress, and is backed up by the strength of the finance system"

Personally I prefer the second version..


>Turn her 180 degrees on the other hand and it's clearly conveying the message "brave women lead the way of capitalist progress, and is backed up by the strength of the finance system"

Or girl who isn't paying attention about to get wrecked by a bull.


But if we're all being trampled by the finance system, then endorsing it is hardly the intended message here. I think it's legitimate to use art to represent shifts in the zeitgeist. It ain't the Eighties anymore, and the Bull sure as hell did not represent an end to financial crashes and catastrophes.

Hell, the Bull predates Enron. I think it's wholly legitimate to re-examine notions like 'the strength of the finance system'. There's a saying that insanity is making the same mistake over and over. The Bull is in a sense the perfect artistic representation of this very mistake.


More like "watch our fund" (that just happens to be wrapped to the eyeballs in nauseating marketing playing on gender politics) face down the dangers of the financial market. After all a "bull market" is slang for a market going up up up.

In effect marketing is doing to feminism what it did to punk.


Maybe 180 degree turn and put her side by side with the bull


That would probably be preferable and more difficult to missenterpret, as some users above pointed out my setting could be, however I don't know how/if it would fit the landscape they're placed on.. Wouldn't want the girl to face oncoming traffic instead of the bull...


I can appreciate the wishful statement of the 'Fearless Girl', but the fact that State Street Global Advisors ($2.4 trillion in assets under management) put it there dilutes the overall message. It's a brilliant ad campaign, but this was not intended for anything other than an opportunity to attract a lot of media attention for a specific investment group.

In this case, the sooner its removed the better. However, I do hope that this inspires someone with good intentions to one-up the piece for the greater good and not a corporation's bottom line.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/14/fearle...


Could the Charging Bull itself be viewed as an advertising campaign for the sculptor? After all, he was hoping to sell it and a few to various cities: http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/rock-solid-article-...


The Fearless Girl would have been a completely different story if they didn't put the plaque in front of it. Had it been the statue alone, it would have left more room for interpretation.

The same goes for the bull. If he had a plaque on it with his name, an artist statement, and some information to contact him, the piece wouldn't have had such an impact.


Well, much of the point of making a statue for a sculptor is to gain recognition. Not every artist wants to be a heremit. I don't see the problem of having one of your works publicizing how good you are at doing that kind of work.


So art studios owned by one person are real art and art funded by corporations aren't real art? Is this like 'I only eat Italian food made by italians'?


Well, the goal of an art studio is to make art (and money by doing so, to be able to create more art). The goal of those dirty (/s) corporations is only marketing, or something else, but it isn't art.


What if artists exhibit in shows sponsored by corporations or organizations like the Dubai International Financial Centre (as di Modica did in 2011)? Is it still art? Or is it just filthy advertising for filthy corporate DIFC (/s)?


I think there is a difference between organizing and sponsoring a show, and comissioning an actual work of art with a specific goal.

Arguable though.


I think there's a difference but I don't think it matters. Do you like the work? Does it get people talking? Is it iconic? Does it elicit political change? I don't think the answers change if we follow the money (except, sure, drop the plaque).


Each of the bronze sculptors involved are talented artists, trying to make money and make more art.

The corporation and the marketing firm didn't make Fearless Girl, Kristen Visbal did.


I absolutely agree with Di Modica.

The problem is that the old piece of art has in effect been destroyed.

Imagine if I purchased Vincent van Gogh's painting 'The Starry Night' and painted over the sky to make it 'The Bright Day'.

Imagine if the publisher of the Harry Potter books decided to rewrite the protagonist as a six inch alien in disguise - and did not publish the original work.

The Fearless Girl artist should use a replica of the bull and place it in a different location.


the appropriate way to settle this debate is more guerilla art


Place the statue of naked Donald Trump between the charging bull and the fearless girl.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/disturbing-statue-nude-d...

Then place the coiled sculpture of Quetzacoatl behind the charging bull.

http://www.sanjose.com/underbelly/unbelly/Sanjose/Quetzy/que...


Agreed. It's time someone added a bear.


They have both the bull and the bear at Frankfurt-am-Main stock exchange. [1]

[1] https://www.frankfurt-tourismus.de/en/Media/Attractions/Bull...


Berlin has bears:

https://creamskyeyes.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/bear-hunting-i...

and cows:

http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/dott-return-cows-kuhunst

And Prague has babies:

https://www.tonyeveling.com/blog/baby-sculptures-in-prague/

Not to mention giant anuses you can stick your head in, and public urinating sculptures writing text messages with their penises:

http://www.boredpanda.com/bizzare-sculptures-by-david-cerny/

You can climb a ladder and stick your head in the sculpture’s arse to see a video of two Czech politicians feeding each other slop to a soundtrack of "We are the Champions"

[...]

The idea is disarmingly simple. Two bronze sculptures pee into their oddly-shaped enclosure (Update: actually it’s the shape of the Czech Republic – thanks Cirrat).

While they are peeing, the two figures move realistically. An electric mechanism driven by a couple of microprocessors swivels the upper part of the body, while the penis goes up and down. The stream of water writes quotes from famous Prague residents.

Visitor can interrupt them by sending SMS message from mobile phone to a number, displayed next to the sculptures. The living statue then "writes" the text of the message, before carrying on as before.


Ideally, the bear would have her head in its mouth.

The three pieces would become a single work warning about Wall Street threatening our future.


in order for his meaning to have been co-opted, he would have had to be communicating it in the first place. he says it's "the strength and power fo the american people", but i always saw pursuit of a financial goal without concern for collateral damage, like a bull in a china shop.


Indeed. I too found it kinda funny, since I'd always interpreted that particular sculpture as a symbol of the damage done when bankers and finance types get out of control.

I actually thought it was a reproduction of photos of the running of the bulls. Specifically, that moment in time where the fool in front and the bull both go round a corner. The bull tries to turn on the cobble stones of pamplona, but as a result, its hoofs begin to slide out from underneath it, and you tend to get photos like this one:

http://theday.co.uk/images/stories/2012/2012-07/2012-07-10_b...

Which is to say, the bull (market) has gotten out of control, and that statue represents the classical view you see of a bull that gotten out of control in the split second before everyone gets really hurt.

Honestly, i like my interpretation better :P


I like it! That's the exact stance. Thanks for sharing


I like the point the author makes about the incredible intolerance there is against different points of view online, usually from both sides of the spectrum.

For example, it's impossible to talk about women's rights without having people take extreme sides are reject any form of intelligent communication.

Unfortunately this has been leaking more and more towards real life. People in large part repeat slogans and take predefined stances instead of using their own heads.

This case is no different: the world is not divided in good, left leaning, progressive people and bad, right leaning, conservative people.

A more realistic spectrum is bigots, people who think religiously about things and don't accept uncertainty to people that embrace reasonable change and diversity of opinion. People that accept that art expresses emotions and people that don't accept art that does not conform to their philosophy (remember the Talibans defacing the Buddhas in Afghanistan?)


While I think a spectrum is better than binary buckets, I also think it's more useful to think along multiple dimensions rather than a bipolar scale.


If this diorama advanced in time a few seconds, the fearless girl would be dead.


Try going on YouTube and searching for "forcado", you may change your mind :)


I guess I just don't see what's supposed to be empowering about it. "Deluded child moments away from being tragically gored to death".


I don't think this makes a convincing case. Why, for example, is it wrong for a new piece of art to change the meaning of an older piece of art? To me, art should make us feel and think, and this does both.


There is a lot of tension between advertising and art.


I've read what the statue is supposed to convey but what I see is a sassy looking girl that is just about to get gored and stomped by a charging bull.

I guess it's nice she is standing up and all but given the situation she isn't going to win. Apparently this girl has very little understanding of proportional weights and forces.

In short, I don't see brave but rather stupid. Not an admirable quality.

Sassy girl needs a horse and a lasso or rocket launcher or something. Or else a plate and a knife and a bottle of A1 steak sauce. Then I'd get the point.


This entire comment thread, more or less, imagines a much clearer distinction between advertising and art, and for that matter between the commercial world and art, than exists or has ever existed.


"and for reasons I’ve never understood, some folks actively dislike history."

Because all too often it demonstrates to us how little we have progressed as a species even though our tools have improved massively.

The struggles of today are either directly attributed to historical events, or are basically the same ones that historical societies struggled with.

This because no matter how much we try to claim otherwise, we are still apes. Our instincts today are largely the same ones that our shared ancestor with chimps and bonobos had.


I always thought the bull was a commissioned piece of art as for example Franfkurt stock exchange has similar bear and bull sculptures infront of their building. In the financial world the bull symbolizes market gains and the bear symbolizes market losses.

[1] http://www.frankfurt-tourismus.de/en/Media/Attractions/Bull-...


Bulls are people who believe the market is going up, and buy; bears believe it is about to go down, and sell.

A sustained move in one direction over weeks is a "bull market" or "bear market".


I hope they leave her and that Di Modica pulls the bull. Perhaps his point will come across better and the fearless fraud will be exposed.


I am as pro-capitalist as one can be (Ayn Rand admirer, work in prop trading), and I like the girl. She's beautiful, and should be left there.

I am not in favor of "patriarchate oppression" interpretation that everybody seems to invoke. She's confident, and she looks at the bull with genuine curiosity, not resentment. I think it sends the right message.


It is hard to make an absolute judgement because in doing so, you have to create a qualitative definition of art, which, unavoidably, will be abused in the future.

Maybe the town could add a tall plate next to each statue, with information about the creator, the installment date, etc and let people who care enough, to judge themselves.


Completely agree with him. FG alone is for-women but FG in front of CB is against-men. CB alone is strength but CB in front of FG is against-women.

Separtely both are great work of art even after considering source of funds. But they managed to ruin both of them.


Why men? The bull was never supposed to represent men.


That's essentially what OP said in their 3rd sentence. FG being there changes what the bull represents.


It does, but why would it change to represent men?


Because FG is emphasised as girl not a kid. Gender is important. Opposite of girl is powerful men. Opposite of kid would be just powerful.



Maybe not precisely and only "every male human", but what is a bull if not masculinity?


Did you read the article? It represents a bull market. It was put there in the wake of the 1987 crash.


It was created to represent the bull market and, alone, that's its obvious reading. But now that it's faced off against the fearless girl obvious reading is as a masculine, destructive force. We can try to invest the symbols we create with meaning but in the end the meanings they end up having to people is largely based on things out of our control.


I have really enjoyed this discussion mostly because it explains art in a way that is much more tangible and visceral than one usually gets. It also shows how a art is more about person's internal viewpoint than the art itself. Ladybird Johnson said it best when she said "Art is the window to man's soul." It opens a window in people where you can peek in and see how they think on the inside.

For some, like me, the pair of them, the Bull and the girl, are much more powerful art than either of them independently. That the girl was created in part as an advertising pitch was news to me, but the art stands by itself.


BTW looked at the performance of that SHE index being advertised[1]. 3.17% over the year - abysmal compared to SPY which it should be beating (11.9%) as both are large cap stock indexes. Looks like advertising the heck of of it the only hope here. (OK I know I year is not really a long term for a stock fund, but 1/4 of SPY performance is a fail IMHO)

[1] http://finance.yahoo.com/chart/SHE


It's actually pretty accurate description of the reality. Mindless administration in the path of progress.


Maybe the right solution is to remove both. But it does make for an interesting dealing art piece despite the fact (I didn't realize) that the girl is just a ad for some company. Though I wonder what would happen if someone put a third piece right in the middle that made fun of both.


If I was Di Modica I'd place another statue between the girl and the bull.

I wonder how the artist of Fearless Girl would react if someone placed a Bart Simpson statue directly in front of the girl like this:

http://m.imgur.com/ZYVsopb


Wouldn't everything be solved by simply turning the bull to face in a different direction?


Wouldn't everything be solved by simply turning the bull to face in a different direction?

Imagine that they do that and then the girl changes position to be in front of the bull again. And then again and again. What a coward bull!


That would be er, bullying, wouldn't it?


No, because the girl would not be fearless anymore.


And why not solve it by turning the girl to face in a different direction?


Because the girl is facing exactly where the creator meant it to be facing.


Which if the bull turned away it wouldn't anymore.

So the difference in the end would be just who has to turn:

- The statue that is there for decades.

- The statue that is there for less than one year.

If people where not doing this about (what they think in their heads is) some politically correct argument but about art (which is the point of the author of the article) than the answer would be obvious.


The girl is facing where it's meant to be facing, twisting the meaning of the bull into something the creator did not intend. The creator of the bull can't turn the girl, because it's not his statue, and the creator of the girl doesn't want the girl turned, because that's where she wants the girl to be facing.

The creator of the bull, the person who doesn't like this situation, can only affect his statue. Therefore, all he can do is turn the bull.


Interesting. I'm actually ambiguous on the political perspective, but I fully disagree that the answer is obvious. Why should longevity protect a work of art from being subverted? On the contrary; to paraphrase Stroustrup, I'd say there are only two kinds of monuments: the ones that have been subverted and the ones nobody cares about. Fighting that is tilting at windmills.


I don't know, if you wrote a sentence saying "America is great" and someone came and appended "but women aren't afraid of it", that would change your sentence in ways you didn't intend. It's not longevity that drives you to defend your sentence, but the fact that you didn't intend it to read that way.


One could put a pair of sunglasses on the girl and subvert the subverted ad. The fact that this isn't allowed proves its the real act of art.


I think an interesting response by Di Modica would be to remove the bull statue. Without it, the Defiant Girl would be reinterpreted anew. Without a symbol to oppose, what would her presence mean?


Where does this funny number come from?

>by an investment fund called State Street Global Advisors, which has assets in excess of US$2.4 trillion.

This doesn't seem like it can be correct. What does this number represent?


It should be "assets under management". Those assets are really owned by millions of ordinary people: they are savings, retirement funds, etc.


Thanks. Perhaps a better way to put it is that it is fourth-largest fund in the word by assets managed (after BlackRock, Vanguard Group, and UBS), at least according to a quick search. It's not realy fair to call it their assets, though.


They hold huge indexes like SPY and are huge ETF vendor (in fact, Wikipedia says they invented the ETF), second only to BlackRock. So trillions under management (not to be confused with money they own!) entirely not surprising.


It represents the money they manage on behalf of their clients.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assets_under_management


BlackRock even has more than twice that. :/


She looks more like sassy entitled girl imho. So, in this sense, I think the statue is a beautiful display of what is going on. "If you don't like it, you're a sexist."


It depends on the reasons for your dislike, as the article explains beautifully. If you don't like the statue because you disagree that women should have the same entitlements as men, then you may need to open yourself to the possibility of being called sexist.


But if you don't like it because it appropriates the power of declaring someone a sexist in order to undermine the original artist's intent...you're still a sexist! That's the beauty of it.

I'm not convinced that this sort of dishonest communication is what's required to give women a more even playing field in business. If that was the commissioners' intent, of which I am also not convinced.


that seems like an uncharitable interpretation of Kenji's comment. Perhaps one can dislike the statue because it's a vapid statement, a girl standing up to something that isn't trying to keep her down in the first place. It's not like the bull had become a symbol of women being oppressed - and the fact that the original artwork was genuinely created by a street artist (and immigrant) and the new addition has been created by a multi-billion-dollar firm to attempt to profit from a political trend is telling.


Yes, indeed I do disagree that women should have the same entitlements as men. I think women should have the same rights and opportunities, but not the same entitlements. I think everyone should work for what they've got, thus earning their entitlements. In that sense, I am for as pure a meritocracy as possible. More power to those who are able, irrespective of their (physical) nature. I open myself to the possibility of being called sexist every single day for my opinions, but I know that what I believe is right and fair and has nothing to do with gender.


That sounds more like you projecting.


The bull is in public space, not a museum. Public space interacts back with your art piece. I consider that a given. And in this case the reaction on the piece was a great one.


So what is this global investment trying to say?

"We specialize in profiting from misfortune when the market is tanking ... but we aren't scared of the bull, either: bring it on!"


What a great story. I'm shocked, shocked by the commercialization of art. Jeff Koons should now create Balloon Fearless Girl on Trump tower to close the circle.


While Fallis' analysis the origins of 'The Girl' was interesting, it did little to mar my opinion of the art. After all, the wealthy, the clergy, the knighthood, and worse have all sponsored great art.

On another note... While on the gregfallis.com website, it would be a shame to miss his 'Faux Life' series:

https://gregfallis.com/category/faux-life/

I love the series, and it further illustrates the idea of 'juxtaposition art' (and of 'appropriation art').


Hilarious suggestion I've heard: Arturo Di Modica should simply rotate the bull by 180 degrees.


If I were Di Modica, I would remove my statue just to spite the advertisers.


I didn't know that Di Modica still owns it. I suppose if he disagreed with what SHE has done, he could simply arrange to have the bull point the other way.


It's a question of principle.

Just because Picasso (or some living author if you prefer for the example) doesn't own one of his paintings anymore, it's not artistically acceptable (arguably even culturally acceptable) for the owner of the painting to go there and just paint something over it that totally changes the meaning of the original painting.

Just because you are legally entitled to do something, it doesn't mean you should do something. As a recent example, just look at the United Airlines example for instance.


Except in this case, no one is "painting over" the Picasso, they're putting another painting beside it. The Picasso is still there, untouched, it just exists in another context.

But what authority determines what is artistically acceptable, or which work's meaning is not allowed to be reinterpreted, commented upon or even ridiculed by another artist? What art permits in the service of social commentary and criticism is often at odds with what culture permits.


> Except in this case, no one is "painting over" the Picasso, they're putting another painting beside it.

That depends on what you regard as equivalent to the canvas in the context of a public sculpture.


Does the canvas of a painting necessarily include the viewing space around it? Why would the equivalent be true for a statue?

The actual physical form of the statue is probably the equivalent to its canvas - or I suppose it would also be the sidewalk underneath it, since that "contains" the artwork.

But to me it makes little sense to claim any arbitrary space around a statue as being equivalent to the artwork itself.


Have you been to the site? Pointing the bull the other way wouldn't affect the artistic expression. Most people wouldn't even notice. On the other hand it might be tacit acknowledgement of the power of the other statue.


Which power is that, that corporations are good at advertising themselves by playing to our emotional biases? I believe that was established before this arrangement.


Pointing the bull the other way would make it look like it was running away from the girl. How is that not changing its artistic meaning?


It makes it look like the girl is taunting the bull. Which is exactly what is happening.

To me it represents a symbol in the war against men.


The American public is obviously the young girl standing against the bulls of Wallstreet.


The girls not so smart to be fearless in the face of a bull. The girls gonna get stomped. Not a good message.


[flagged]


>so that she's not shitting on the very soul of the American people.

Don't be so melodramatic. No one cares that much about a bull statue, except perhaps Arturo Di Modica.


Well not no one. The op cares that much. I care a bit too because I always knew the history and intent of the statue thanks to a little Google search I did the first time I saw it.


Sounds like someone's done a bit of appropriation themselves :p


Heh, if you mean that I might have gotten my ideas from the article then claimed that I always had it....

Wikipedia has had this link about the Wall Street bull being a celebration of the strength and power of the American people, since 2008.

Link to 1989 NY Times Article:

http://www.nytimes.com/1989/12/16/nyregion/soho-gift-to-wall...

Link to old wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Charging_Bull&old...

The guy really hasn't made a secret about his artistic intent, he handed out fliers about it and probably likes mentioning it in every interview.


How did women get stuck with pink?

Soldiers get yellow. Environment gets green. Anarchy gets black. Peace gets white. Coke gets red.

Poor women. Have to share the worst color with cancer.


We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14125260 and marked it off-topic.


Well then. Let's all remember to stay on-topic.


Actually, off-topic tangents are usually fine as long as they aren't generic or inflammatory. Yours wasn't too bad but it did have elements of both.


That story is particularly curious.

Originally people used to dress male babies in red, because it was the colour of blood, war, strength, etc...

And female babies in blue, because it was the colour of peace, the sky, etc...

Around the 1960s when the feminists started to push for gender neutral clothes among other things, some of them made a campaign asking major companies (for example Sears catalog) to instead use the colours inverted, red for girls, and blue for boys, just to force some 'equality'

The campaign sort of worked, but flew way over people heads, they just started to assume red (and later pink as a softer tone of red for babies) and blue (and later light blue, for same reasons as pink) were the colours of female and male babies, without knowing why...

The feminists that created the switch, wrote several articles and papers claiming these gendered baby clothes were oppressive and existed to control women... I wonder after the colours just switched, what they think.


This doesn't sound right to me.

As I understood it, all kids used to wear grey/white dress gowns that were easily bleachable and reusable and able to be passed down.

And then marketing companies decided that it was better if they imposed a cultural norm that if you have a boy and a girl, you need to buy two different outfits for each.

Similar to the only raison d'etre of absolutely stupid gendered products like shaving razors and deodorant.


I suspect that it was the clothing industry that figured they could sell more by hooking different product to genders earlier on, and marketing basically facilitated that push.

Particularly after WW1 various industries that had massively scaled up to feed the war needed an outlet for their excess production capacity.

This lead to a marketing push to get people to think in terms of desires rather than needs.

Adam Curtis goes over this during his documentary series, The Century of the Self.


Do you have any source for this? I've heard about pink being considered masculine and blue feminine, but I've never heard about this feminist campaign, and frankly it sounds unlikely.


Never mind that it was not uncommon to dress both genders the same virtually until school age.

I seem to recall a (in)famous image of a certain president as a toddler, in what at first glance appears to be a dress.


> I wonder after the colours just switched, what they think

That colors are oppressive, and exist to control women.


In what sense is pink the worst color? I rather like it. I like purple better—more regal—but pink is a fine color.

And pink is only the color of breast cancer, not all cancer, since it's seen as a 'women's issue'.


In what context do soldiers get "yellow"?


yellow ribbons


It's not exactly correct to call it pinkwashing, but it's the closest term that I could find to describe the art display.


[flagged]


How large of a safe space would the creator of the Fearless Girl need if someone installed a statue of a table with a butcher's implements, or a bullfighter's swords, in front of her statue?


It's art. It wouldn't matter that much if it were paid for by a saudi monarch in order to promote violence against women, because absolutely nobody, except the special kind of people who write blog posts like this, would read it that way.


> the strength and power of the American people

Such nationalistic bull-shit always irritates me.

As if people from other countries are not equally strong and powerful and as if a statue of an animal could symbolize that in some way.

On some level though it makes sense, American actions the world over often recall the bull-in-a-china-shop image.

Art does not exist in a vacuum, it exists in the world around it and if you place a work of art in a public space you have to assume that that context can and will change over time. Deliberately or by accident. After all, the artist took a risk by placing the statue in a public space without permission, he can't now turn around and claim that others should not take similar rights.

In this case it seems that 'the guy' has under-estimated the amount of empty space he would like to see around his art but he can solve that by simply taking his bull home and putting it in his garden. Fearless girl won't be able to follow and the bull will be safe from any further artistic intrusions.


>Such nationalistic bull-shit always irritates me.

>As if people from other countries are not equally strong and powerful

The tendency on HN to interpret any positive statement about the US or American culture as an implied insult to the rest of the world baffles me.


I don't see it as a positive statement. I see it as a statement of insecurity that you have to equate people to bulls. Just like the American Eagle, the Dutch lion and so on , it's just cheap symbolism, closely related to flag waving.


Nationalism was originally meant as a unifier in a world where racaus nobles would go to war over spurious land claims or maligned honor, and ethnic or religious divisions regularly lead to war.

Nationalism is not evil. It is a necceasary baby step away from tribalism and towards a humanist ideal, by getting one to acknowledge that people hundreds of miles away share common ground with you.


As if people from other countries are not equally strong

This is unfair; while chauvinists obviously extol their country, one can celebrate it without declaring its superiority. As a non-American myself, I understand the antipathy against American Exceptionalism, but let's not put everything in the same bucket.


It irritates me because it is totally lacking introspection and this kind of statement make it into the media with great regularity, in fact, so frequently that it becomes a meme in its own right.

Maybe it's my jealousy coming from a small country with puny and weak people. But I suspect that if some immigrant artist would put up the statue of a lion on Dam Square here to commemorate the strength and power of the Dutch he or she would likely be laughed out of town, statue included.


You are just projecting your own inferiority complex.

American people have several reasons to be proud of themselves. Even when you add up all the missteps the balance is undoubtedly a net positive effect on the world.


> You are just projecting your own inferiority complex.

Priceless. Thank you.

> American people have several reasons to be proud of themselves.

I'm sure they do.

> Even when you add up all the missteps the balance is undoubtedly a net positive effect on the world.

Call me in 20 years. Anyway, there is a vast difference between 'the American people' and 'America the country'.


> As if people from other countries are not equally strong and powerful

This argument is like saying loving your wife (or husband) is bad because it's as if other women (or men) are not equally beautiful and smart and attractive. I think this is just fishing for offense.


He abandoned his work in a public place, therefore he has no ownership claims.


> It’s been almost thirty years, and Charging Bull is still owned by Di Modica, still on temporary loan to the city, still one of the most recognizable symbols of New York City.


I think the bull, standing alone, is reflective of a bygone era. Maybe some folks want to go back. I certainly never really got the meaning, it was just a bull in a public space. It could have been an elk, an explorer, or something abstract. To me, the girl improved the bull - and the other way around. The bull improves the girl.

I don't think it matters what the artists intent was. The public's interpretation changes, and if he'd really like, he can ask for a plaque describing his original intent.


That still misses the core point. The reason the intent is important is because the girl is an advertisement.

> It could have been an elk, an explorer, or something abstract.

So we can hang billboards from the statue of liberty, then?


So this art is advertisement. It isn't like we don't look back and marvel at the glory of old movie posters or anything... Those were advertisements. It doesn't matter if it started as an advert.

I'd have been offended if they did shitty art, but in this case, they took care and did an actual piece.


Isn't the bull also the symbol of a impoverishment of workers?

In financial jargon:

Bulls are peoples betting in growth saying buy, and betting on more dividends given to share holders vs work costs.

Bears are the one selling. (Bad news too to be honest, but more for share holders than workers)

A long trend in bullish behaviour is related to the richs getting richers.

Since it is in the financial district and they were pissed, it looks indeed the girl can be seen as a counter guerilla meaning finance is a symbol of countering the excess of finance.

Which, if it were the meaning would be kind of a strong alteration of one of the meaning of the oeuvre.

Knowing that among the undeniable moral right of the author there is right to prevent distortion, mutilation, or modification that would prejudice the author's honor or reputation, the guy do not have a point, he is in his lawfull right! Denying his point is just undermining the very few protection of authors.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_rights#In_the_United_Sta...

As a coder whose work is protected by Author's rights I strictly see as dangerous to fight against hardly claimed rights that makes our value.

I do free software and I do not give up on my moral rights and I think as a worker protected by these rights we should be educated in author's right and whether or not we like his point of view, we should stand for his claim because that is a fair right.

Imagine you make a software or an essay saying HN is full of interesting bright mind, and someone defaces it adding contents to mean HN is full of pedantic idiots. Would you like this?


He probably doesn't actually have any legal claim; the purpose of those laws is to protect the physical integrity of artworks, not the conceptual integrity.


No, moral rights go beyond physical integrity, but at the same time they only protect "the author's honor or reputation". I don't think they apply in this case.




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