‘Charging Bull’ sculptor challenges city over ‘Fearless Girl’ statue

The sculptor behind Wall Street’s “Charging Bull” is urging the city to remove the “Fearless Girl” statue from its location across from the iconic bull, calling it a “negative” influence.

Arturo Di Modica and his attorney, Norman Siegel, said the 4-foot statue of a bronze girl with her hands on her hips violates his artistic copyright to the “Charging Bull.” At a news conference Wednesday, they argued that the statue distorts the bull’s original artistic purpose by commercializing and editorializing it.

“The ‘Charging Bull’ no longer carries an optimistic and positive message,” Siegel said.

Calling the statue “negative,” Di Modica said it needs a new location.

“The bull has been there for 27 years. Everyone has loved it from all over the world,” Di Modica said. “They must find their own place, like I did.”

Siegel and his firm have sent letters to both the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio and State Street Global Advisors, the financial firm that commissioned and installed the statue, calling for the removal of the statue.

The “Fearless Girl,” which is a symbolic reminder of the lack of women on the boards of many corporations, was designed by artist Kristen Visbal and first appeared downtown on March 7, the day before International Women’s Day. Mayor de Blasio said in March it could stay in its place until February 2018.

Siegel contends that State Street Global Advisors deliberately created the art piece to exploit the bull and advertise their services. He noted that the firm quickly removed a plaque at the feet of the statue that read, “Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.” SHE is an abbreviation for a fund the company has.

State Street Global Advisors said it received the letter from Di Modica’s attorneys and is reviewing it.

Siegel has also sent FOIL requests to the mayor’s office seeking documents related to permits allowing the “Fearless Girl” statue to stay in its place.

“There are some serious questions about the city’s role in this,” he said.

De Blasio tweeted a response to the request, writing, “Men who don’t like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl.” His office did not provide any further comment.

Siegel said his client isn’t yet taking legal action and hopes that both the city and State Street Global will take Di Modica’s requests seriously. He emphasized that while he wants the statue to be relocated, he supports its message for gender equality and doesn’t want it to be banned from the city.

Bowling Green Association Chairman Arthur Piccolo, who appeared at the news conference with Di Modica Wednesday, agreed with Siegel and suggested that the “Fearless Girl” would be better suited near the New York Stock Exchange.

“This is absolutely a commercial,” he said of the statue.

More from around NYC