After two assiduous years of working at his most massive sculpture yet, Arturo Di Modica with the help of his friends delivered The Charging Bull, an 11 feet-long sculpture that weighed over 7,000 pounds, right beneath New York City’s 60 feet Christmas Tree in front of the New York Stock Exchange.
It was December 15, 1989 and the world went up in an excited roar and frenzy about the mystery Christmas present. Enormous crowds of New Yorkers and tourist flooded the Exchange and looked on in awe.
At the end of the day, the sculpture was removed. However, a permanent home was found for it at nearby Bowling Green through the intervention of the then Park’s Commissioner Henry Stern and the Bowling Green Association.
The Charging Bull is an unusual sculpture. In the mass of many shiny bronze pieces welded into one, you see a bull charging in rage; its strength and fury captured in the whip of its tail, the hostility in its eyes and its ready limbs.
According to Di Modica, The Charging Bull, created and installed two years after the crash of the stock market, was a symbol of the strength and resilience of the American people and the American Dream. It alluded to the fact that anyone could be whatever they wanted through sheer doggedness and hard work especially in New York and the rest of the country.
When the Fearless Girl, a four feet-tall, 250 pound statue of a little girl in an obstinate hands akimbo stance, picked a spot in the way of and starring down at The Charging Bull at Bowling Green on the 7th of March, 2017 ahead of International Women’s Day, the art scene took on a different meaning that continues to spark conversations about gender inequality till date.
The Fearless Girl statue which was created by Visbal Krsiten under the commission of Wall Street firm, State Street Global Advisors was an advertising stunt to celebrate the power of women in leadership and create awareness about the lack of female representation on the boards of the Russell 3000, an index of U.S. firms.
The Charging Bull did not originally have sexist intent, however more than ever, the world is realising that while the human race may be made up of men and women, gender divides and unconscious factions are depriving the world of the capabilities and growth that would be recorded if these divides were bridged or non-existent at all.
So before the Fearless Girl is served a quit notice, the new ‘life-art scene’ at the heart of corporate America will cause some stirring conversations about the level of women involvement in governance and corporate spheres for the rest of the year.
Columnist for the New York Post, Andrea Peyser writes of this newbie, “Fearless Girl is just an excuse for women to sulk.” She further argued that the statue “perpetrates the myth of women’s powerlessness while fomenting self-pity and anti-male sentiments that helps no one.”
For her, the idea propagated by the addition is a fluke given that American women are more likely than others to head corporations, run for president, earn a lot or even choose to be stay-at-home mothers. But is this the reality?