One of 2 comments at the NYT about the Fearless Girl/Charging Bull controversy, selected by the NYT for publication in a column (the NYT equivalent of what I call, on the blog, "frontpaging"). The other comment loves "Fearless Girl" and credits it with making "Charging Bull" "relevant."
Note that the "Fearless Girl" statue is not attached to "Charging Bull." She's not riding it or grabbing it by the horns or even right up in its face.
She... I think it's sentimental to call the sculpture, an inanimate object, she. A child calls her girl-doll she. An adult, speaking about politics and art, should say it, unless you want to look as though you don't respect any of this as art but are all inside the emotionalism and the propaganda. Say "she" if you mean this is kitsch.
I'll eschew "she," because I don't want to sound childish or snobby. My point is: There's some distance between the 2 sculptures. It is possible to look at them independently and see them one at a time without the other necessarily intruding into your field of vision. You, the viewer, can also choose to position yourself so as to see them together and think of them together. The "Charging Bull" sculptor wants to own the space in the vicinity of his work. If he's right, it would seem that artists could push around museum curators for grouping pieces together.
For example, here's a picture I took at the Museum of Modern Art, where a sculpture was placed in front a painting, creating an excellent relationship between the 2, perhaps something the painter and the sculptor would object to:
These 2 works of art are simply positioned near each other so that viewers will often see them together and have perceptions and ideas based on the relationship, but the viewer can also choose to see them separately. The works are unchanged. The painting isn't touching or even that close to the sculpture. The museum and the museum-goer are affecting the proximity. We might criticize the placement and say it's wrong in some way. Or we might think the combination is great. I think the combo effect in my photograph is fantastic, expressive of Futurism, but for all I know one or both of the artists would think putting the 2 together creates a misunderstanding of Futurism.
The "Fearless Girl" most reminds me of the "Three Soldiers" sculpture at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., which was designed in reaction to the minimalist Maya Lin sculpture. The very simple and dramatic Maya Lin's wall must exist in proximity to the realistic depiction of three men, painstakingly detailed in particular uniforms, with identifiable weaponry, and with faces sculpted to beat us over the head with the fact that one is white, one is black, and one is Hispanic. It's as though "Three Soldiers" and Maya Lin's wall are having a debate about what bad taste is.
The wall had been controversial, and Lin didn't like the intrusion of the second sculpture:
Lin was furious at the adulteration of her design and called the decision to add Hart's piece "a coup," which "had nothing to do with how many veterans liked or disliked my piece." In response to veteran Tom Carhart's comments that her design was a "black gash of shame and sorrow, hacked into the national visage that is the Mall," Lin asserted that she had not received a single negative letter from a veteran, adding that "most of them are not as conservative as Carhart." Hart's addition was placed a distance away from the memorial wall in order to minimize the effect on her design. Still, Lin refused to attend the dedication of the sculpture.But as far as I know, Lin didn't sue anybody, and "Three Soldiers" is still there in proximity to the wall, so what's the difference between that and the "Fearless Girl"/"Charging Bull" problem?