Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Charging Bull vs. Fearless Girl

   This is a pretty silly issue, but I'm inclined to think that di Modica, the sculptor of Charging Bull, is mostly right: installing the second statue has changed the meaning of the first one. I mean, the second artist would have a legitimate objection if, say, someone installed a statue of a man standing in front of the girl, suggesting that her fearlessness resulted from the fact that her father was actually protecting her and her fearlessness was basically bogus. So is it cool to modify the meaning of someone's artwork in this way? It's legal, obviously...but I'd say kinda uncool.
   I don't know what to do about it, and don't care much...though I do think that the media reaction would be pretty different if a sculpture with a more liberal-leaning message were modified / defused by a second sculpture in this way.

   I think that the issue should be decided--to whatever extent it is decided--on the basis of arguments like those. However....  This is pretty good, IMO, and it also contains the following surprising information: Charging Bull was an act of "guerrilla art," created and installed entirely by the artist, without pay, at a personal cost of about $360k, as a kind of expression of faith in the American economy after the market crash of '87. Fearless Girl, OTOH, is a marketing ploy by a giant investment fund as a marketing ploy having something-or-other to do with a "gender diversity index" fund that uses the NASDAQ abbreviation 'SHE.'
   Now...I think that in this case, motives matter less than the other stuff... But I doubt they will to most people. And if Fearless Girl gets moved, my guess would be that it'd be on the basis of arguments like the latter rather than the former.


Blogger Pete Mack said...

Given that the original artist retains ownership of a nominally temporary installation, he doesn't have a lot of grounds for argument.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

That's fair.

I might say: he's got solid grounds for complaint--but he can move it, so there are limits to how much complaint is warranted.

OTOH, though, come to think of it, I think this is a pretty solid response:
Fearless Girl can go anywhere...Charging Bull is *made* for Wall Street.

Also, I think it's still on the shitty side to change somebody's art by co-opting it in this way. Not exactly a mortal sin, but still.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

Right. Complaint, yes; argument, no.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

Addendum: I also think the statues in St. Louis and Frankfurt are more honest. They don't pretend there's no bear.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

lol I'd say a complaint based on an argument...but we might be going beyond the point at which fine-tuning is worthwhile in this case...

12:32 PM  

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