No, The Wall St. Bull Sculptor Doesn't 'Have A Point'

from the nope dept

Last week, we wrote twice about sculptor Arturo Di Modica and his claim that the "Fearless Girl" statue, that was placed last month in front of his "Charging Bull" statue, violates his rights. As we explained, in detail, he has almost no legal case here. His letter to New York City argues three possible claims of action -- all of which would almost certainly be losers in court (as we detailed in that last post).

However, I still have seen a bunch of people arguing in support of Di Modica, claiming that he "has a point." Many have pointed to a blog post by Greg Fallis that is literally titled "Seriously, the guy has a point." Others have raised other issues in discussions I've seen (and taken part in...) on Twitter and Facebook. I still don't think he has any point at all, but I wanted to do a post addressing each of the key issues I've seen raised, and explaining why I think they fail as legitimate arguments.

Fearless Girl is an ad

I had debated mentioning this in the first post (and only obliquely noted that "there have been some criticisms" of Fearless Girl), but decided it was really meaningless. But people keep bringing it up, so let's address it. Yes, the Fearless Girl statue is an advertisement of sorts. The whole thing was created and financed by State Street, a massive investment firm, with help from McCann, one of the giant ad agencies. And a big part of the criticism is that State Street has a "gender diversity index" whose ticker symbol is SHE, focused on tracking the performance of "companies with the highest levels within their sectors of gender diversity on their boards of directors and in their senior leadership." And Fearless Girl has a plaque that says: "Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference." Many have, quite reasonably, argued that (especially given the capitalization of SHE) Fearless Girl is just an advertisement.

And the response to that should be... so what? As we've pointed out for many, many years, all content is advertising in some sense. It may be advertising for the artist. It may be advertising some idea. It may be advertising a theme. Di Modica's bull was "advertising" the resiliency of American capitalism. Just because it's advertising doesn't mean it's not artwork. And even advertising can have a positive social message. So, the claim that it's "advertising" doesn't really impact anything here. Yes. It's advertising. So what? It's also still art, and was created by a real artist whose own work and talents are unfairly diminished when you say that it's not art just because someone paid for it and it advertises something else. Or as our own Leigh Beadon points out:

Some are arguing that because there's money involved, that somehow changes things, but I don't see how. After all, the bull itself celebrates money and markets, so if you're suddenly arguing that money is bad, well, then... I'm not sure how that supports the argument that the artist has a point.

It uses the only copy of Charging Bull

This is the argument I've heard most often after the "it's an ad" argument, and I'd argue it's more persuasive, but still not very persuasive. The argument here is that, unlike a remix or standard appropriation art, where the original work remains untouched, the placement of Fearless Girl effectively incorporates Charging Bull such that Charging Bull can no longer be separate from Fearless Girl. If you are to accept the idea that putting another artwork near an original piece of artwork can never be allowed, even in a public place, and even if the latter piece incorporates the original to comment on it... well, you're going to run into a lot of problems pretty quickly. Because then you're arguing two things that are pretty difficult to justify: (1) that an artist should get absolute control over any other works near his or her own artwork, and (2) that artwork is defined by what is around it and so the context can never change.

Both things seem unjustifiable. On the first point, what if, instead of the Fearless Girl statue, someone created a placard (an artistic placard) protesting what they believed was unfair sexism on Wall Street and stood next to the bull? Would that lead to the same outcry that this somehow "diminished" the Bull? Or imagine a world in which an artist could force a museum curator -- or a private collection owner -- to not display some other artist's artwork next to his or her own, because the juxtaposition of the two pieces was deemed by the artist to be unflattering? Most people would think that is crazy. How one puts up a piece of artwork, and what pieces are put around it, are the decisions of those who control the physical pieces and have the rights to display them. Here, Di Modica dumped his bull on the streets of New York, and New York now has possession of the physical statue. It can decide how to display it.

Plenty of museums use the careful placement of different works to create juxtaposition and even direct criticism or commentary. It would be crazy to think that an original artist could bar any of that.

As for the second point, we don't have to look very far to see how silly it is: Di Modica himself placed the bull in the street in front of the NY Stock Exchange, specifically making a point about that particular financial market. He was commenting on the NY Stock Exchange and the fact that it represents a form of capitalism and free markets (whether or not you agree with that is beside the point). And yet, NYC moved Charging Bull around the corner. It is no longer directly in front of the NYSE, but people still get the context and they understand the intent.

I've seen people arguing that if Fearless Girl were removed to somewhere else it wouldn't make the same point, but that's not necessarily true. People are not dumb. They can understand context. And they can see how context changes. The Bull moved from the NYSE to a nearby park, and yet people still recognize that Charging Bull is commenting on the stock market and the Wall St. ethos. Yes, it helped where it was initially placed, but the mythology around the placement has stuck with the Bull. The same is likely true for Fearless Girl. Were it -- or the Bull -- to now move, many people would still remember and recognize the initial juxtaposition, and understand the intent (again, even if it was an ad).

But Fearless Girl changes Charging Bull's meaning

I've seen this from a few people, arguing that the artist must have some right of "control" over the meaning of the statue. But that's just not the way it works. This is a similar argument that we've seen in lots of copyright disputes over the years -- especially cases involving fair use. People seem to ascribe a somewhat mythical concept of "control" or "control of message" that an artist can have over their artwork. But that's never been true. Once a work of art is released to the public, the public interacts with it and interprets it and that's wholly outside the control of the original artist. Sometimes, over time, people's impression of a work of art can change drastically -- from bad to good or from good to bad.

Indeed, that's a big part of art. Art is barely art if there's no reaction to it. The reaction itself is a large part of the art, and that reaction is not dictated by the artist. Sometimes that reaction is just how people see things. Sometimes that reaction is in how it inspires others to create other works. Art is often defined by the reaction to it. And here, if that reaction changed, that's just a part of the nature of art and culture and society and how those things interact. Over the years, for example, there have been debates about the artistic value of works that supported, celebrated or were associated with bigotry. And there have been protests against them. But that's allowed, because people are allowed to react to art how they want, and sometimes their reactions can impact how others see things as well. Some people who grew up with the Confederate flag as a symbol of the south have grown over time to realize the racist connotations it can hold. Should we not allow people to raise those issues and get people to rethink their support of that flag?

Control in art is an illusory concept: people insist it's there, when it really is not. An artist has control over the artwork while they're working on it and before they've released it to the world, but once it's out there, once it's become available to interact with the reactions of the public, control is lost. And that's a good thing. It's that loss of control that makes art art.

You may not like Fearless Girl. You may not like Charging Bull. You may not like capitalism or advertising -- or maybe you do. You may like control. But the simple fact is that none of the arguments that Di Modica and his supporters are making make much sense in the grand scheme of things. The bull can survive Fearless Girl and so can Di Modica.


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  • icon
    TechDescartes (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 9:46am

    I'm confused

    Why is Fearless Girl against bull markets?

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  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 10:55am

    I can't help but think of this in terms of literature, but it happens in every art form: Sometimes a work is entirely a commentary on another work. Books, they may not be next to each other in a library, given the filing system, but in a bookstore they may. But physical proximity is not terribly relevant. The fact that a thing exists and people know about it is enough.

    So Joe Haldeman should never have been allowed to publish The Forever War, right?

    As to advertising, well omg you got advertising in my propaganda. Fainting couches for everyone!

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 10:56am

    Nobody hates artists more than Mike.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 10:59am

    Oh jeez. If the "ad" defense is given ANY credence then we might as well start expunging Andy Warhol from the records right now.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 11:00am

    If the Fearless Girl "isn't art" because a corporation paid for it and attached an ad, then there is very little art anywhere in the world. The artistic accomplishments of the Renaissance, for example, happened because the catholic church and the business leaders of the day had excess income, and decided to use that income to pay artists to create works of art that the church and businessmen could then show off to prove how awesome they were. So no art was actually created.

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    • icon
      TKnarr (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 11:38am

      Re:

      If Fearless Girl isn't art then the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel isn't art nor is the Mona Lisa. Let 'em argue that one.

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    • icon
      TechDescartes (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 2:24pm

      Re: Ad Nauseam

      While the statue still is there, the "ad" was removed two weeks ago. Apparently nobody noticed.

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    • icon
      Ryunosuke (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 2:46pm

      Re:

      let's put it this way...

      Art can be advertisements.... Advertisements can be art....

      just like any other media, they too, can be art, from movies, tv shows, video games.

      alternatively, a lot of classical Greek and Roman art, is in fact, advertisements for people to worship and donate money to specific churches of said deities.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 3:05pm

      Re:

      "to create works of art that the church and businessmen could then show off to prove how awesome they were."

      You forgot the part about showing someone how awesome you are is called advertising.

      Some people really need to be pointed that out.

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    • icon
      Gumnos (profile), 23 Apr 2017 @ 12:31pm

      Frankly, I'm pretty okay with this

      If copyright is only extended towards "art", it would free up a lot of commercial (formerly) "art" for reappropriation by culture.

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  • icon
    PlagueSD (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 11:08am

    Screw the girl. Someone should have put up a statue of Bugs Bunny in front of that bull.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 11:16am

      Re:

      Next week I'm going to install a giant bronze anvil hovering in the air above the bull and a Wile E. Coyote peeking out from behind the corner of the nearby building.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 11:43am

        Re: Re:

        I'm afraid this is going to conflict with my installment of a massive tank around the bull filled with the urine of New York City's homeless people.

        Your anvil would represent a threat to Piss Bull and would damage my artistic rights.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 11:08am

    Mike the problem with the fearless girl and why your guy with placard argument is weak is that the Fearless girl was made to look as an extension of the Charging Bull. The girl was done in a similar style as the bull. There is no problem with statues being near each other normally, but when you can not distinguish what is original to the artist you are diminishing their art. Copyright is for the promotion of the arts and sciences as you so often say, but if I am the artist who created this how am I encouraged to create more by this move if they allow the canvas of my creation to be changed so blatantly. Why should I sculpt more art for people to see if they will copy my style right next to it to change the point I was getting across.

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    • icon
      Leigh Beadon (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 11:13am

      Re:

      Why should I sculpt more art for people to see if they will copy my style right next to it to change the point I was getting across.

      I'd suggest that if you aren't open to other people commenting on your art in a public space by creating their own, you should NOT be doing guerrilla statue installations on city-owned property. You should stick to getting your work exhibited in galleries where you can reach a contractual agreement beforehand about how you want it displayed.

      Besides, the "I won't create any more art if you do this!" threat is very unconvincing when held up against someone actively trying to have a piece of art censored. Which one of those things is a more concrete, immediate danger to the promotion and proliferation of art?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 12:09pm

        Re: Re:

        How far can you take that what if I put a cage around the bull. Would that be okay as functionally what was done is the same.

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        • icon
          Leigh Beadon (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 12:28pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          If the city lets you put up your cage, then sure. Why not? Why should the artist get to magically assert his will over space that he doesn't own and has no right to, where he placed his art without any agreed-upon stipulations about how it must be displayed?

          Like I said: if you don't want someone putting stuff up near or around your art, there are plenty of ways to get it displayed where the owner of the space will allow you a degree of control and input regarding what goes around it that you can agree upon in advance. You don't get to drop your work in a public area with no permission, then claim you deserve control over the space *around* the spot where it ended up.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 11:13am

      Re:

      If your "art" is so shallow that another nearby piece of art commenting on it completely overshadows it, then maybe you shouldn't be producing art at all. Not everything has the same value that the creator puts on it.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2017 @ 1:33am

        Re: Re:

        Yeah, how dare you not like my art!!

        My intent was for it to be the most liked piece of art, and you're not respecting that by commenting on it!

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    • icon
      Leigh Beadon (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 11:17am

      Re:

      Plus... just... come on - the bull has been standing there as one of the most famous statues in the country for nearly 30 years. You're honestly saying that if it was yours, then the moment the Girl went up you'd throw your hands in the air and say "well, that was a failure and a waste of time, I guess I'll never make a sculpture again"?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 11:25am

      Re:

      Copyright as the name clearly states, is the right to control the making of copies, and that does not, and should not extend to controlling what other do with copies once you have ceded ownership in a copy (or the original), other that stopping the making of more copies..

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    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 11:36am

      Re:

      Your arguments apply equally to what Mystery Science Theater 3000 has done with other shows for almost 30 years. Turning a serious work into a comedy. Wrapping another plot and meaning around it. Etc.

      Yet somehow, studios are still producing new shows.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 12:15pm

      Re:

      Hey, some guy further down the thread took your artistic work and copied it into a new place, thereby ruining your art. . So in accordance with your wig your stated wishes I expect you to never write a comment ever again.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 11:08am

    Mike the problem with the fearless girl and why your guy with placard argument is weak is that the Fearless girl was made to look as an extension of the Charging Bull. The girl was done in a similar style as the bull. There is no problem with statues being near each other normally, but when you can not distinguish what is original to the artist you are diminishing their art. Copyright is for the promotion of the arts and sciences as you so often say, but if I am the artist who created this how am I encouraged to create more by this move if they allow the canvas of my creation to be changed so blatantly. Why should I sculpt more art for people to see if they will copy my style right next to it to change the point I was getting across.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 11:19am

      Re:

      copy cat

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 11:46am

      Re:

      Umm, I hate to break it to you, but the Charging Bull statue is not some unique style of sculpture.

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    • icon
      Wyrm (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 1:18pm

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Apr 18th, 2017 @ 11:08am

      Ah, the dreaded "they copied my style" argument. Your point is not weak, it's non-existent.

      Copyright protects copying ab exact expression. Not an idea, but a style. An expression.

      The Fearless Girl doesn't copy anything and doesn't alter the Charging But. It's a new piece of art, in the same style, that is placed next to the Bull. It's providing new context, new meaning, but doesn't change the original Bull.

      No point for the artist, even less so when he just dumped the Bull in a public place without authorization even less a contract to keep its context "intact".

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      • icon
        Wyrm (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 1:30pm

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Apr 18th, 2017 @ 11:08am

        (sorry for the many typos. Writing on a phone, you know.)

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        • icon
          zboot (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 1:41pm

          Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Apr 18th, 2017 @ 11:08am

          This comment is a copy of another earlier. It is commentary on the original argument, suggesting that since this was a derivative work, the OP should no longer respond since we've taken away his reason for creating comments.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 11:18am

    The guy does have a point. The point is actually quite obvious, and if you don't see that you are stupid.

    His only problem is that he doesn't have a legal point.

    If you are going to write another article about this, add in that some feminists are saying that the girl is bad because it points to women standing up for themselves, which takes the blame off of our misogynistic, patriarchic system bla bla bla bla bla.....

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    • icon
      Leigh Beadon (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 11:57am

      Re:

      *The guy does have a point. The point is actually quite obvious, and if you don't see that you are stupid.

      His only problem is that he doesn't have a legal point.*

      Yes, and instead of simply expressing his opinion on the matter, he hired lawyers and got them to write up a legal argument for why believes he has a right to have the statue forcibly removed.

      So whatever legitimate personal point he may have been able to make, he chose not to do that - he chose to turn this into a legal argument with widespread implications for the world of art. That's on him - and now he officially does not have a point.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 12:13pm

        Re: Re:

        I am not sure about that Leigh, I never knew who this guy was or the backstory of being gorilla art. After Fearless Girl went up, I still didn't know.

        After his lawsuit, I know him and the backstory. If he has spent any money on legal fees, the publicity from this more than covers it.

        I can file a lawsuit, anyone can, what is the big deal?

        Now he has 2 points, neither of them legal, but still valid.

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        • icon
          Leigh Beadon (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 12:33pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'm not really sure what you're saying, or what distinction you're trying to make.

          His two points are: "here are two reasons that I have the legal right to remove the Fearless Girl, and be awarded monetary damages". What separation am I supposed to be making there between "legal" and "valid"? It's a request that is both ridiculous under the law and, IMO, wrong under the spirit and purpose of public artwork.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2017 @ 6:01am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            All he has done is "threatened" a lawsuit. In doing so, he has generated a lot of publicity for himself. Maybe his motive is less lawsuit (since he would obviously lose) and more publicity.

            How many people here knew who actually created the bull before he came out and threatened a lawsuit?

            So now he has accomplished two things without spending any money, he has made people aware of himself as the creator and he has gotten a lot of coverage that gets his point of view out in the mainstream and has people talking about him and his art.

            What I am trying to say is who cares about the lawsuit? He hasn't filed one yet, and I bet he won't.

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        • icon
          jupiterkansas (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 12:39pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          He could have also spoken to the press, made a film about it, launched a protest, or done any number of other perfectly valid ways to draw attention to the problem without making a legal issue out of it.

          A real artist might have come up with something else to add to the situation to comment on it even further.

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    • identicon
      frank, 18 Apr 2017 @ 1:11pm

      I don't agree with his point...

      It's true: the girl changes the meaning of his statue. But he doesn't have a point.
      Why should he complain over the use of his work? How about the Original artist of this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Duchamp_Fountaine.jpg

      Why should some arty farty artist be able to claim a toilet as art, and this guy won't let others do it to him?
      The copper-miner had no right to stop him making a bull from that fine ore, while they liked wire more.

      Why should artists be better than anybody else in this world?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 11:18am

    Contrary to most of the OMG! stories I've seen in the press about this issue, the first thing I thought when I saw the picture was "What a stupid girl that would have been." I grew up in farm country, not a big city, so it gives me another point of view. That bull would have just gored and trampled her and thought nothing of it. It's obviously politically incorrect, but politics is all about denying reality to get your agenda through and that bull doesn't give a damn. Neither should you when you're about to get gored by cattle.

    I understand the artist's breathless "OMG! They ruined my art!", but I think the message isn't one of defiance. It's one of monumental stupidity.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 11:22am

    Just go green

    Go green and recycle the bull. That's a lot of bronze.

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  • icon
    jonr (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 11:34am

    Compare to architecture

    To see how ridiculous the artist's argument is, envision the Charging Bull as a building. By his argument, if I were to build another building nearby, I'd be infringing on his copyright. But in architecture, it's almost expected that a well-designed building will "comment" on nearby buildings. Sometimes this means echoing elements, sometimes it even means a playful parody of some aspects of the existing building.

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  • icon
    Dave Cortright (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 11:53am

    These artworks are in a PUBLIC area!

    Leigh made a point in a comment c212 that is worth re-emphasizing. If you release your work into a public space, it is ludicrous to expect that you can control how others choose to use that space. If he wanted to control the space, he should have rented or bought the location where the artwork was placed.

    As it is, the public would be well within its rights to move the statue to another, different public space—say, the bottom of the Hudson River.

    But you know what would be even better? Removing every part of the statue, but leave the asshole. I think that would be appropriate given the actions of the creator.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 12:06pm

    OMG! The "artist" has no thoughts/comments on the innumerable people that cup the cajones and takes selfies of the bronze bulls rear end??

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  • identicon
    SpaceLifeForm, 18 Apr 2017 @ 12:14pm

    Memo to "Fearless Girl"

    Mission accomplished.

    You are making people 'think'.

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    • icon
      zugmeister (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 4:11pm

      Re: Memo to "Fearless Girl"

      It certainly made me think about the wisdom of standing in front of a huge bull and weather looking properly defiant would make any difference. Next up, let's debate weather a small child should stand in front of a charging rhinoceros!

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  • identicon
    Richard Wordsworthy, 18 Apr 2017 @ 12:15pm

    Control

    I'm introducing a new craft rum to the market, but I retain all control of what cola's you can put with it. How dare you destroy my authenticity with a brand I don't deem worthy!

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    • icon
      Ryunosuke (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 3:06pm

      Re: Control

      by that same logic the creator of ... Pepe come to mind foremost. he SHOULD sue the trump admin for re-appropriating his meme to mean something that wasn't his intentions, toxic, and outright cancerous.

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      • identicon
        Daniel Audy, 19 Apr 2017 @ 1:24pm

        Re: Re: Control

        I actually genuinely feel sorry for the poor artist. He has a fairly distinct style that you can recognize if you've seen Pepe and most people won't know that he doesn't support the movement that has appropriated his character and completely altered the association that character has. The irony is that he actually does have legal standing to sue over the use of Pepe but doesn't because he recognizes that it is an impossible battle that will get him nothing but scorn.

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  • icon
    z! (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 12:17pm

    Advertisement??

    I find the advertisement argument, um, unavailing.

    Advertising only works when the viewer actually knows what is being advertised. Not being a New Yorker, I've only seem pictures of The Girl. Until it was mentioned during this contretemps, I had no idea that the statue was either placed by an investment firm or that it might be intended as advertising. Unless you know the origins, it's "just" another piece of art. Nice one, too.

    Heck, even walking by, you'd probably never see the caption.

    Advertisement? I think not.

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    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 12:41pm

      Re: Advertisement??

      If one of the major complaints is that it's an advertisement, then it seems like people have figured out it's advertising without it being blatantly obvious.

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      • icon
        z! (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 2:56pm

        Re: Re: Advertisement??

        I'll go out on a limb here- the vast majority of the people complaining were probably told "it's an ad.". Unless you read the caption, how can you tell? Even then, unless you know what "SHE" might refer to in context, how can you tell?

        What makes it an advertisement?

        Please explain.

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        • icon
          JoeCool (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 4:26pm

          Re: Re: Re: Advertisement??

          I can't tell what 3/4 of all jeans and perfume ads are for, even after they tell me the brand at the end. What makes it an ad? The fine print at the end. :)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 12:27pm

    test question:

    will girl be what it is without the bull?
    clearly, not. thus it is an extension previous work.

    had this together was placed in different venue, then, maybe, it would have been separate work.

    i think, he has strong case.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Leigh Beadon (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 12:34pm

      Re:

      will girl be what it is without the bull? clearly, not. thus it is an extension previous work.

      That is not, in and of itself, legally relevant.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 12:45pm

      It doesn't matter if the girl statue wouldn't have had the same 'message' if it was placed elsewhere, if you place your statue on public property you don't get to whine when someone else does the same, even if it does 'harm' the message you wanted to make with your art.

      He's welcome to move the statue to property he owns, in which case he can prohibit people from placing things nearby all he wants, but so long as it's on public property then the only thing he's 'owed' is criticism, mockery and/or laughter for the hypocritical tantrum he's throwing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 12:45pm

      Re:

      Considering I haven't seen the girl and the bull in the same photo, the girl statue by itself looks like a work of art to me and communicates the idea whether the bull is there or not.

      And even if it is considered an extension of another work, that doesn't mean it's illegal. No law is broken by placing one work of art next to another.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 4:16pm

      Re:

      If you wrote a different comment in a different place, you might have a point.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 12:35pm

    Wrong, the little girl statue is using the bull statue

    The little girl statues creator is not only using the bull statue for their own needs, it is altering the meaning of the bull statue to suit what they want to portray.

    If someone dressed up the girls statue with a swastika or gang colors or whatever, they are transforming another persons work into their own without permission or compensation.

    Would the creator of the little girl statue be ok with someone placing a bunch of statues of little boys around her, pointing at her and laughing? Same concept.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Leigh Beadon (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 12:40pm

      Re: Wrong, the little girl statue is using the bull statue

      Whether the creator "would be ok with" something and whether they have a legal right to prevent it are two very different questions.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 5:03pm

        Re: Re: Wrong, the little girl statue is using the bull statue

        why?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Leigh Beadon (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 5:35pm

          Re: Re: Re: Wrong, the little girl statue is using the bull statue

          Are you honestly asking that question?

          The law doesn't exist to serve anyone's arbitrary whims. Most artists aren't huge fans of bad reviews either — that doesn't mean they get to have them removed and be paid recompense.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          athe, 18 Apr 2017 @ 8:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: Wrong, the little girl statue is using the bull statue

          Congratulations - my 5 year old would be proud of your argument...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    David (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 1:20pm

    I replied to the 'point' tweet.

    I felt so proud, not for myself but because I provided the link to your article.

    Yes, an actual tweet to a non-techdirt reader. It felt good. It was so good I think I am going to call it art.

    Say goodnight Art.

    Goodnight Art.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Vic, 18 Apr 2017 @ 1:29pm

    RE: "Fearless Girl is an ad"

    OK, following that train of thought, what is a "Charging Bull" then? Something that had been dropped on a street and left there some several years ago. Let's see if we can find an appropriate definition for it... OLD TRASH? If the city has moved the trash to an approved location it should also have the right to add anything else to this location. In a sense, the city has created that new location and should have some kind of copyright on it...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ChrisB (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 2:22pm

    Gender-baiting

    My problem with the statue is it needlessly introduces gender conflict into an otherwise genderless issue. It is a perfect statement for this decade, which has been plagued with gender-, race-, and religion-bating.

    Is the bull male? Yes. Does that mean it represents the patriarchy? No, not unless you are a hopeless SJW.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 3:10pm

    Just move the bull elsewhere.

    I'm sure the artist haters here at TD will something else to complain about though...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Leigh Beadon (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 3:50pm

      Re:

      You seem to be confused. Nobody is complaining about the placement of the bull. The artist who created the bull is complaining about the placement of the girl.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 4:21pm

      Re:

      If you spent as much time creating as you do complaining. You'd be famous enough for TD to write articles about you. Which you could then complain about.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Cowherd, 18 Apr 2017 @ 3:24pm

    So, it would be acceptable to put a "Creepy Pervert" statue behind "Fearless Girl"? Because, you know, art?

    Then you could put "Homicidal Parent" behind "Creepy Pervert" and finally "Smartphone Filming Guy" behind all of them! Then celebrate all the additional art! Glee!

    Or, you know, you could come up with your own artwork instead of taking advantage of someone else's.

    Nah, nothing illegal or litigable about being an artistic parasite, just nothing particularly noble about it either.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 4:23pm

      Re:

      Did you invent the English language? No? You bloodsucking scum. Where so you get off taking advantage of etc etc...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 4:32pm

      Re:

      Actually, I'd PAY to see an ever-growing chain of statues like you describe. Add a new one each month and I'd be there to cough up $5 every month. Every museum and art house in the world would be falling over each other to follow suit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      AnaChronic (profile), 20 Apr 2017 @ 4:50pm

      Re:

      Name one artistic work that DOESN'T take advantage of other artwork?

      Seriously. Artists draw inspiration from other works of art constantly. Call it inspiration, or "taking advantage" or whatever, the fact is that no artwork is ever created in a vacuum.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2017 @ 3:36pm

    i've seen that bull many times. i used to sometimes take newbies where i worked out on the island on very early sunday morning tours of the city when only us and a bunch of cabbies owned the place.

    frankly, i always thought the statue was dopey. all that drama and no reason. as far as i'm concerned, the girl gives the bull a reason to be there and a reason to not look like an everyday, half-asleep bull.

    [you who visit the bull be sure to check out the iron fence behind him around the old bowling green. note the ragged ends of the posts. the guys at work told me the fence originally had little sculpted head figures of swell english people atop those ragged posts. got hacked off after gen washington sent the english on to their next project.]

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kronomex, 18 Apr 2017 @ 4:58pm

    I've always seen the bull as an advertisement for Wall Street and see no need to change my view. Modica is just having a Princess Precious moment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pseudonym, 18 Apr 2017 @ 6:02pm

    Uhm...

    So let's be clear on what Fallis is saying: Arturo Di Modica has a valid <i>artistic</i> point.

    He is not saying that Di Modica has a valid <i>legal</i> point. He is not saying that Di Modica's point is more compelling than other points of view. He's merely pointing out that if you distill out all the unreasonable things Di Modica is saying, he has a few reasonable points in there that are worth saying.

    This is normal discourse in the world of art.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Châu, 18 Apr 2017 @ 6:37pm

    Ad not art?

    What people say ad not art? In modern time, many beautiful art is ads, look at magazines, ad boards, government propaganda, book covers, movie posters, video game ads, etc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sambo, 18 Apr 2017 @ 7:07pm

    Old saying

    The whole nonsense about 'changing Charging Bull's meaning'.

    Regardless of whatever the creators are trying to achieve, interpretation of any art is completely down to those who consume it.

    Or as the old saying (sort of) says.

    "I may know know farts, but I know what I like"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    spamvictim (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 8:01pm

    Moral rights

    When the US ratified the Berne convention, it specifically excluded moral rights, saying that the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA) was close enough. VARA forbids changes to a work that are "prejudicial to the author's honor or reputation." I don't see how the girl would do that, but that is the legal thread on which his argument might hang.

    In Europe, Moral Rights are an integral part of copyright law. Perhaps he should move the bull there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Leigh Beadon (profile), 18 Apr 2017 @ 10:00pm

      Re: Moral rights

      Less important than the "prejudicial to the author's honor and reputation" part is the part that says there must be "distortion, mutilation, or other modification of [the] work"

      The critical thing here is that the bull itself was not modified or interfered with in any way. You can argue that its meaning has been modifying, but that's not what the law requires: it requires that the work be modified.

      Allowing an interpretation of "distorted, mutilated or modified the work" that includes situations where the work was not changed or touched in any way whatsoever would be one hell of a legal slippery slope.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Steve R. (profile), 19 Apr 2017 @ 7:32am

        Re: Re: Moral rights

        An obvious (incorrect) implication; the copyright holder has the "right" to force how people think enforced by the legal system. Artist do not have a "right" to define how other interpret their work.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2017 @ 4:01am

    Most tv programs are supported by advertising or
    sponsorship,
    eg a program like mad man could be seen as art .
    Even some film posters or book covers might be regarded as art .Just because a corporation paid for something does not mean it cannot be art.
    Once an artist makes something its then up to the public to react to it.
    before the 90s and the invention of the internet most recorded music
    was only made with the support of record companys .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    lhblotto (profile), 19 Apr 2017 @ 8:15am

    a couple points

    http://thealt.com/2017/04/19/rapp-on-this-raging-scum/

    There's a couple points here I haven't seen elsewhere. Like DiMorica's pending TM application for CHARGING BULL for things like pasta, olive oil, and wine!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 19 Apr 2017 @ 11:08am

      Re: a couple points

      Sorry, was that last one 'wine' or 'whine'? It looks like the former, but the latter seems more appropriate, hence I'm a little confused and wondering if it was a typo on your part.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    jameshogg (profile), 20 Apr 2017 @ 1:43am

    There's another word for changing the artistic meaning of something sacred that was used throughout history, I forget now... It made a lot of people angry and they wanted to stop it. What was it?

    Oh yeah. "Blasphemy."

    They did well to stop that from ever happening, didn't they?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2017 @ 9:47am

    Are you intentionally misinterpreting every issue with Fearless Girl or just bad at listening to opposing views?

    1) The Advertising Issue: Your argument boils down to a sophmoric restatement of Kenneth Burke's observation that all communciation is rhetoric. There's a huge difference between rhetoric and corporate advertising. Further, your stance completely glosses over the problem that Fearless Girl communicates a message of standing up to a male dominated industry that glorifies the illusion of the alpha male WHILE ADVERTISING THAT SAME INDUSTRY. It's an inherently dishonest work.

    2) Your arguments about the placement and Changed Meaning. Raging Bull has always had meaning. Fearless Girl is meangingless without Raging Bull. You claim the opposite. Raging Bull has done just fine communicating its message of strength for years. Fearless Girl is just a little kid making a pose without the help of Raging Bull to give it context. Fearless Girl is parasitic. It communciates nothing without Raging Bull's context.

    And I don't even know what to make of your assertion that the only way art matters is the way people respond to it. That's just arrogance. There are dozens of ways to interpret art and none of them are superior. Responses to art are important. But so is artist intent. If you don't agree, try reading Animal Farm without knowing anything about communism and see how far you get.

    I actually like Fearless Girl. The way it changes and adds nuance and honesty to Raging Bull is fascinating. But your article is a lackluster statement in the issue.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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