'Charging Bull' artist says that the 'Fearless Girl' statue violates his rights

Arturo Di Modica, the sculptor of Wall Street's bronze "Charging Bull", claims New York City violated his rights when they allowed the "Fearless Girl" statue to be installed nearby.

"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, ad as such it constitutes a derivative work", wrote Siegel in a letter to Ronald O'Hanley, CEO and president of the investment firm.

But Di Modica has said he sees something insulting to the integrity of his artwork, saying "Fearless Girl" is not a symbol as much as a marketing ploy organized by State Street's advertising partner McCann.

People stop to photograph the "Fearless Girl" statue in NY, made by Lewes artist, Kristen Visbal. The plaque also read that the asset manager State Street Global Advisors financed the installation of "Fearless Girl" to honor "the power of women's leadership".

"Very simply we request respectfully that the "Fearless Girl" statue be removed", said Siegel, calling for damages to be awarded for the "violation" of his client's statutory rights. The "Fearless Girl", as the Washington Post described it, now makes the bull seem "menacing and aggressive" because she is standing him down.

Specifically, from the man who created her arch enemy, the Bull, who is accusing NYC of violating his legal rights by allowing the Fearless Girl to be installed without his permission.

The 4-foot girl staring down the 11-foot bull with hands planted on her hips quickly became a tourist magnet, drawing global attention on social media while awakening the imaginations of live visitors who posed for pictures. The "SHE" in this case refers to an exchange-traded fund offered by SSGA, which Di Modica's supporters say makes the piece an advertisement, and one that fully relies on tarnishing the Charging Bull.

When Fearless Girl first appeared, State Street chief marketing officer Stephen Tisdalle told The New York Times that the Boston-based firm has been vocal in promoting gender diversity in the financial sector.

"The girl has changed the meaning of the bull forever", said David Levi Strauss from the Manhattan School of Visual Arts.

What's more, the irony of the initial circumstances of Di Modica's own sculpture is not lost on us.

The extension of the Fearless Girl's stay has upset Di Modica, who held a press conference today at the law offices of attorney Norman Siegel.

The artist also filed a lawsuit against Walmart in 2006.

Siegel said the intent was less high-minded, adding: "They did it for commercial purposes".

Mayor Bill de Blasio weighed in on Twitter.

  • Leroy Wright