April 15, 2017

"As an artist, I love Fearless Girl. But as an intellectual property lawyer, I will say that Mr. Da Modica has a valid legal argument."

"Fearless Girl is a work of art that incorporates Charging Bull without permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized use of a copyrighted work — unless it falls within some narrow exceptions — is straight up copyright infringement. In my opinion, Mr. Da Modica is absolutely correct that Fearless Girl completely changes his sculpture’s meaning. You can’t control how people view your copyrighted work necessarily, but you can certainly prohibit them from using it without authorization. The relevant factual question would be, does Fearless Girl use the bull sculpture?"

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:

Futurism

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? 

94 comments:

James Pawlak said...

It is a public place. It appears that the First Amendment protects the placement of that statute.

Oso Negro said...

I still think that to keep it real, someone needs add "Asian Up-Skirt Photographer" to the tableau.

Lance said...

No copy was made, therefore no copyright can be violated.

Both statues are graffiti. Graffiti for different factions of the 1%.

tim maguire said...

I can understand why the bull sculptor is upset, the resisting girl completely changes the meaning of the bull (probably because the girl sculptor didn't bother to think much about the meaning of the bull, any more than does its supporters), but it's hard to see how his copyright claim extends to the airspace around his sculpture. Lots of things can affect how it's viewed, that doesn't give him rights over them all.

EDH said...

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.

Well, there is the matter of the bull semen stain on her dress.

Virgil Hilts said...

"Unauthorized use of a copyrighted work — unless it falls within some narrow exceptions. . ." I am an IP lawyer (though not a litigator) but the fair use doctrine, while nebulous is something that is often called "both very broad and quite narrow." In some ways fair use is akin to "I know it when I see it" (a lot of people have made this comparison), and based on that approach this should be fair use.

Lem said...

Fearless girl is a fraud.

A more honest representation of reality would be a sculpture of mattress girl in front of that bull.

A beauty and the beast motif?

Grant said...

Going back to the relationship raised in quoted comment from the Times: Three Soldiers doesn't "incorporate" the Vietnam Memorial. It exists as if the wall weren't even there. Obviously it's there because of the wall, but it wants the wall to be invisible.

Fearless Girl, on the other hand, isn't even fearless unless Charging Bull is "incorporated".

Laslo Spatula said...

I agree with Althouse on her picture, but would add: the placement of the pieces does not require knowledge of a connection to appreciate each as a single piece.

My questions are:

Does "Fearless Girl" work on its own in its entirety, or does a part of its statement require the other piece to complete it?

Would moving it to another site reduce its artistic charge?

Should a painting that only works at its artistic best positioned next to Van Gogh's "Starry Night" be expected to demand that location?

If it needs this synergy then it will always be judged by the proximity. And then it is just an example of the importance of Real Estae.

Location, location, location.

I am Laslo.

alan markus said...

Seems like the "Fearless Girl" thing would not work without the bull being there, so it appears that the bull sculpture is being appropriated for the benefit of the girl sculpture.

So, are there some deeper meanings? Women need the patriarchy that is Wall Street? Without capitalism, there would be no art?

holdfast said...

Without the bull the girl is completely random and useless. As such the sculpture of the girl has completely appropriated the work of the sculptor of the bull. Moreover because of the proximity of the girl, and the controversy surrounding her, the bull cannot properly be viewed in isolation. Therefore there cannot be claimed a fair use exception.

Unknown said...

What the charging bull artist should demand is that they turn his statue 90 degrees and see if anyone minds. It would completely change the fearless girl statue, but wouldn't change his artwork at all.

Bob Boyd said...

"The very simple and dramatic Maya Lin's wall must exist in proximity to the realistic depiction of three men..."

Why? Either work would be a fitting, stand-alone memorial even if the other had never existed.



The work of art entitled 'Fearless Girl' is not the statue of the girl. It is the girl and the bull, the interaction between the girl and the bull.

AllenS said...

I sure hope that no real alive girl actually tries this in front of an alive bull that has that posture.

Bob Boyd said...

What if you put Fearless Girl in front of a statue of an oncoming bus? Would the message be the same?
How about Fearless Girl boldly standing up to a bronze Laslo opening the back door of a windowless van?

Laslo Spatula said...

Unknown @ 8:22.

Brilliant.

Although the Elite would take it as a Win for Fearless Girl: her fearlessness has caused the bull to turn away.

Meanwhile, I'm going to sculpt a turd and demand that it be placed beside the base of Rodin's "Thinker".

"The Turd" will work on its own, of course. But it gains depth next to "The Thinker." Because even smart people shit. And there shit is no better than anyone else's shit. And not all ideas that are Thought are Good Ideas.

To bring it around: next to Fearless Girl I will put a sculpture of a tampon called "Womanhood." It, too, will work on it's own, but next to "Fearless Girl" it will bring the question of her impending womanhood. Will she still be Fearless as a grown woman? Does the introduction of the ability to produce children bring with it a sense of the perils of Responsibility?

Then: on the other side of "Womanhood" I will place my sculpture "The Pervert": a guy with greasy hair and poor posture. Because of his proximity to "Womanhood" and "Fearless Girl" there will be questions. Is he anxiously awaiting her becoming a woman and thus a Sexual Desire? Or is his Sexual Desire for her as a Girl, and "Womanhood' represents the Threat to His Object of Desire?

The Turd and the Tampon should be pretty easy to sculpt. I'll have to work a little harder on "The Pervert."

I am Laslo.

David Smith said...

I'm entirely unqualified to comment on IP law, but I'm entirely fearless in agreeing with Grant and holdfast. The statue of the little girl is simple (if competent) kitsch were it located anywhere other than as it is, in spatial and polemic relationship to the sculpture of the market bull.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Agreeing with David and others.....

If the little girl statue were placed in any other location, it would have a different meaning or feel. The placement of the girl in front of and facing the charging bull, creates a meaning specific to the use of THAT bull statue. It also changes the meaning intended by the sculpture of the Market Bull.

In other words, the sculptor of the little girl statue is appropriating the artistic creation of Da Modica. And we all know how SJWs view appropriation.....don't we??? Or does that only work when non liberals appropriate stuff like tacos or serapes?

Michael K said...

I agree that the original Vietnam Memorial was a symbol of shame.

I have seen the The Menin Gate memorial in Ypres, Belgium to the 57,000 British soldiers whose bodies could not be found after that battle.

It is an arch, somewhat like the Arc du Triumph, but with 57,000 names engraved inside. A much better memorial.

It is an enormous "Unknown Soldier" tomb.

bagoh20 said...

Does the "Fearless Girl" show bravery or stupidity? The inevitably outcome of such a scene is a dead girl with courage left looking a bit foolish, as it backs away into the shadows.

I heard through a very reliable source close to Fearless Girl that she has self-identified as a boy and a Republican. She is now standing up against the charging bull of political correctness.

William said...

Why should perverts have greasy hair and bad posture? Anthony Weiner was meticulous about his grooming and fitness. There should be some way to pose her with Weiner that would emphasize both her fearlessness and his fierce ambition......The Fearless Girl works best as a movable image. She'd bring new life to Guernicia or The Scream. I'd like to see her in that Goya painting about the firing squad. I'd like to see Fearless Girl everywhere in western art. She should be marching over the barricades with Marianne.

bagoh20 said...

Imagine a similar bronze statue in front of the Statue of Liberty of a little boy giving her the finger.

bagoh20 said...

The Fearless Girl would get no attention if placed elsewhere. The location is designed to steal some of the value of the Bull while simultaneously devaluing it to the original artist. The very thing copyright law is designed to prevent.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...


So, are there some deeper meanings? Women need the patriarchy that is Wall Street? Without capitalism, there would be no art?


Ooh, Alan made a new fun game. I want to play.

Women are doing their best to stop a vibrant and growing economy?

Women aren't smart enough to get out of the way of a rampaging animal?

Women are fearless in front of an inanimate object?

Roughcoat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

Image of male strength that commands attention can be ridiculed by an image of female flower power. Vive la difference.

I forget what the complaint is...they compliment one another. But a WWF fake controversy is an art form these days.

Roughcoat said...

James Webb, along with Tom Carhart, was also a harsh critic of Maya Lin's work. Webb and Carhart were frequently at daggers drawn (outspoken, volatile Marine/Naval Academy grad & combat veteran vs. outspoken, volatile West Point grad & combat veteran, what do you expect?) but concerning the Wall they were in agreement: they hated it. The two men were prime movers in the campaign to create and install the Three Soldiers monument built. I like both works and it strikes me that they complement each other. Not to get too esoteric, but some knowledge of ancient Indo-European Vedic spirituality helps in appreciating Lin's wall: The sages say "naming is the Mother of Ten Thousand Things." But the Three Soldiers monument is brilliantly executed and withal quite powerful to gaze upon and contemplate.

CWJ said...

Absent the bull, Fearless Girl is artistically no different than any of the scores of "slice of life" "sitting figure placed on a bench" sculptures that dot shopping centers and pedestrian malls across the country. For me, that leaves intent which was obviously to appropriate the bull for publicity purposes. In this, Fearless Girl is wildly successful for the investment firm behind it.

I think it is different from Althouse's examples in two ways. Regarding her photograph, neither painter nor sculpter created their works in response to the other. Again intent. The Viet Nam memorial is a closer match. There I'd only say that the difference is that the same people chose both the wall and statue to coexist. The artists may hate each others work, but neither had the power to choose.

MisterBuddwing said...

I agree that the original Vietnam Memorial was a symbol of shame.

I suspect you're in the minority on that one.

Freeman Hunt said...

It makes no sense to regard Fearless Girl by itself. That's the difference. It wouldn't be displayed without the bull.

mtrobertslaw said...

The sculpture was originally named "Fatherless Girl" but was renamed because of political correctness.

Freeman Hunt said...

Without the bull, Fearless Girl becomes Defiant Brat.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I sure hope that no real alive girl actually tries this in front of an alive bull that has that posture.

If the subject of the sculpture were a teenage boy we could call it "Hold my beer...watch this!!!"

Bruce Hayden said...

"Fearless Girl is a work of art that incorporates Charging Bull without permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized use of a copyrighted work — unless it falls within some narrow exceptions — is straight up copyright infringement."

More complex than that "IP Attorney" claims. Copyright provides a set of very specific rights (17 USC 106):
(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;
(2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;
(3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
(4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;
(5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and
(6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

(4), (5), (6) don't apply to sculptures, which leaves (1), (2), and (3). And, this doesn't seem to fall under any of those exclusive rights which leaves the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (17 USC 106A) which provides:
(a)Rights of Attribution and Integrity.—Subject to section 107 [Fair Use] I and independent of the exclusive rights provided in section 106, the author of a work of visual art—
(1) shall have the right—
(A) to claim authorship of that work, and
(B) to prevent the use of his or her name as the author of any work of visual art which he or she did not create;
(2) shall have the right to prevent the use of his or her name as the author of the work of visual art in the event of a distortion, mutilation, or other modification of the work which would be prejudicial to his or her honor or reputation; and
(3) subject to the limitations set forth in section 113(d), shall have the right—
(A) to prevent any intentional distortion, mutilation, or other modification of that work which would be prejudicial to his or her honor or reputation, and any intentional distortion, mutilation, or modification of that work is a violation of that right, and
(B) to prevent any destruction of a work of recognized stature, and any intentional or grossly negligent destruction of that work is a violation of that right.

VARA probably applies since the public knows of the work. As I read it, that essentially leaves 106A(a)(3)(A) (and, as Virgil pointed out Fair Use (17 USC 107)). But, then there are the exceptions to the VARA rights:
(c)Exceptions.—
(1) The modification of a work of visual art which is a result of the passage of time or the inherent nature of the materials is not a distortion, mutilation, or other modification described in subsection (a)(3)(A).
(2) The modification of a work of visual art which is the result of conservation, or of the public presentation, including lighting and placement, of the work is not a destruction, distortion, mutilation, or other modification described in subsection (a)(3) unless the modification is caused by gross negligence.
(3) The rights described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (a) shall not apply to any reproduction, depiction, portrayal, or other use of a work in, upon, or in any connection with any item described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of the definition of “work of visual art” in section 101, and any such reproduction, depiction, portrayal, or other use of a work is not a destruction, distortion, mutilation, or other modification described in paragraph (3) of subsection (a).

Arguably, this involves placement, which would seem to be within the 106A(c)(2) exception.

New York did have an "Artists Authorship Rights Act" that might have helped but it was held pre emoted by VARA.

Sebastian said...

The girls is only Fearless in front of the bull. Nuff said.

The girl is also Foolish. The bull ain't gonna stop.

But it is an appropriate prog symbol: weak woman imagines she can stop testosterone-laden masculine drive for growth.

We know what the bull does for the advancement of society. What does the Girl contribute, besides political posturing?

David Baker said...

There's a third statue not yet displayed: Fearless Girl's mother running to pull her from harm's way.

Amadeus 48 said...

I want to point out that in real life the fearless girl is about to be trampled by the raging bull, and this would be a tragedy caused by the naive stupidity of the girl or the heedlessness of the adults that should be supervising her. In other words, this is a perfect metaphor for occupy Wall Street, BLM, the Bernie crusade, and other examples of left-wing folly that are steeped in sentimentality. The bull ain't stopping because the girl is cute.

Fearless litle girl, you are about to be dead.

Otto said...

my ususal non sequitur - if you think that there was equal participation by blacks, latins, and whites in the vietnam war you don't know reality. There was Overwhelmingly white fighting men killed and enlisted in the Vietnam War. Also there was NOT a disproportionate number of deaths of black fighting men in the vietnam war. So if that statue is trying to convey that there was equal participation by those 3 groups in the vietnam war, it is bullshit. So what is the point of the statue - diversity , affirmative action ? Both have been failed policies just like that Faux vietnam statue.

readering said...

Fearless bull was plonked

down without permission and I suspect the city could end the threat by moving it.

Amadeus 48 said...

I see three of us got to the same point at almost the same time. Hat tip to Sebastian and David Baker.

Barry Dauphin said...

Via Unknown
What the charging bull artist should demand is that they turn his statue 90 degrees and see if anyone minds. It would completely change the fearless girl statue, but wouldn't change his artwork at all.

Turn the Fearless Girl statue 90 degrees, and see if the title still seems relevant. The bull was there first.

AllenS said...

Yes, DBQ, and well said. Also, what Otto said at 9:41 AM per #s.

Sayyid said...

"and with faces sculpted to beat us over the head with the fact that one is white, one is black, and one is Hispanic."

Wait, what? The guy on the right is black... Is the one who is Hispanic actually obvious to other people?

I am totally missing what features are supposed to clue me in on that. I think I want to keep it that way, now that I'm aware of my lack of awareness.

CJ said...

Saw this on Reddit earlier. Putting a kitchen in front of the Fearless Girl. Does that change the meaning of the "art"?

https://i.redd.it/4lkz57l3hmry.jpg



Also - again, the Fearlesss Girl was cooked up by a boardroom of 50-55 year-old white men.

Basil said...

Great, so I can finally paint those bunny ears over the Mona Lisa!

khesanh0802 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
khesanh0802 said...

Maya Lin's work needed nothing but time to make it acceptable. I have been to it a couple of times and find it incredibly moving.

The fearless girl impinges on the bull's space and depends on the bull for its impact. That seems like copyright infringement to me. A little like superimposing Ferdinand the Bull into the upper left corner of Picasso's Guernica.

Bob Boyd said...

"...50-55 year-old white men."

Ew!

Ann Althouse said...

""The very simple and dramatic Maya Lin's wall must exist in proximity to the realistic depiction of three men..." Why? Either work would be a fitting, stand-alone memorial even if the other had never existed."

You're imposing a reading I didn't intend.

I meant only that now that the other sculpture is in place, the wall is where it is, next to it. Putting the other sculpture where they did caused the wall to begin existing henceforth in proximity to the realistic sculpture of 3 soldiers, changing the stark minimalism, making it part of a Vietnam sculpture park.

I certainly didn't mean to suggest that the wall demanded the other sculpture to attain its true meaning or fulfillment. The opposite is true. The second sculpture had a detrimental effect on the first sculpture, as it was understood by its creator and its proponents.

khesanh0802 said...

Not copyright infringement, but as Bruce Hayden says VARA seems to fight nicely.

David Baker said...

Still, I believe the best solution is to move the bull. Not because of the the girl, but because it's too far from its genesis. The ideal location would be right in front of the NYSE on Broad Street.

(And across the street a counter-statue for the short sellers; Teddy Roosevelt's Standing Bear, the massive grizzly shown in the greatest adventure movie ever told: "The Wind And The Lion")

Bruce Hayden said...

Now to the theory. The "IP Attorney" seems to be taking the European Moral Rights view of the subject. But, for the most part, they don't apply here (with the limited exception of VARA). The difference is that in Civil Law countries, like, esp., France, Copyright is based on essentially moral rights. Something like how we view the 1st Amdt. right of Free Speech and the 2nd Amdt. right of personal defense. They were existing rights before being protected/incorporated by statutes. Something granted by our creator. But, in the US, C/R is based on Section 8, Clause 8 of our Constitution which empowers the United States Congress: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." Implicit in this is the bargain of trading federally guaranteed rights for a limited period of time for the work of authors (which is a term of art that includes artists) and inventors. But, since the right is based on, and limited by, our Constitution, and not on natural rights, it is limited by what Congress provides, and nothing more. If it can't be found in the Copyright Act (17 USC), it isn't a copyright right under US law. And, because of the basis of our copyright law, it has been much more hostile to European style Moral Rights for artists.

Moral Rights were incorporated into an international copyright treaty, the Berne Convention, that the US signed - except that our adoption was specifically and statutorily non-enabling. Which is to say that we essentially said that we would accept the Berne Convention, but that any additional rights that it might provide would have to be implemented by statute, and not through bootstrapping from the treaty. And, this proviso was specifically aimed at not incorporating European style Moral Rights. (BTW - Berne is also why we eliminated formalities in acquiring copyright protection. Now, like Europe, copyright is automatic in the act of fixation of original expression in pretty much whatever tangible medium the author/artist is working in.)

So, no surprise that artists, with the influence that Europe has had over art over the centuries, might think that this sort of lessening of the Raging Bull through placement might be covered by C/R law. But, this isn't Europe, and our C/R rights are strictly limited by our Constitution's Copyright Clause to whatever Congress grants them in the Copyright Act (17 USC).

CJ said...

David Baker - it's way too tight down there to put the Bull statue. It's perfect where it is. Also - there are loads of other exchanges in the Financial District. The NYSE isn't the only exchange that matters. NASDAAQ, NYMEX, not to mention the Federal Reserve.

Also, again, the trader's entrance to the NYSE is on Wall Street.

Bob Boyd said...

"You're imposing a reading I didn't intend."

Thanks for the clarification. I misunderstood your meaning.

Still, I think the issue is, Fearless Girl not only requires the Bull to be the artistic statement it is, The Bull is actually a component of the art work Fearless Girl.

The 3 Soldiers may distract from The Wall, may offer an alternative, more traditional memorial vision, but it doesn't appropriate the Wall or transform it's original meaning into something else entirely.

If they'd have installed a statue of an NVA soldier standing before The Wall with the same defiant posture and facial expression as Fearless Girl, then you'd have a direct comparison.
Can you imagine?

buwaya said...

The mystic qualities of idols are the most important consideration concerning the bull, this is not a matter of rational or legal analysis. It is a pagan graven image much like the Hebrews golden calf or a legionary eagle. This is obvious from its history, it clicked with the public and was permitted to remain because it was a compelling symbol, it evoked a subconscious response from a large number of people. Thats an unmistakable sign of magic.

They accepted it as a huge sort of lucky charm, of commercial success, and treat it as such hence the spontaneous tradition of rubbing its, er, parts.

Its much like a Hindu Ganesh in an Indian merchants shop, or the ubiquitous Maneki-Neto (cat with upraised paw, the "lucky cat") in Japanese businesses, and now very widely adopted in Chinese shops also. But this is a lucky charm for a whole city.

But its no good if you mess with the symbolism. The girl changes it, it divides the public perception, it creates stress and conflict, and makes the bull evil. Haul in some Feng Shui experts and they will certainly say just that.

If its not a lucky charm, then the bull has to go, it is spoiled. The damage probably has been done, in a mystical sense, no matter if the girl is removed.

buwaya said...

To add, the bull-girl pair is probably bad luck.
The bull now has to go, for the sake of the city.

Michael K said...

I agree that the original Vietnam Memorial was a symbol of shame.

I suspect you're in the minority on that one.


It could be. I've been alone before. I didn't go to Vietnam as I was in the military before it heated up.

You might ask Vietnam vets for their opinion, though. It might be mellowing now, too.

Gahrie said...

I'll eschew "she," because I don't want to sound childish or snobby

Within a week some feminist will be attacking a man for referring to the statue as "it" rather than "she".

Gahrie said...

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?

The difference is, both Vietnam memorials were commissioned and paid for by the owner, the U.S. government.

Bob Boyd said...

Fearless Girl is protected from the Bull by the Unseen Hand.

AllenS said...

I'm a Vietnam veteran, and I found the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to be very moving. Especially looking at the names of men who died within feet from me.

The 3 soldiers sculpture didn't make any sense. The guy on the left has his jungle fatigue shirt over his pistol belt. Nobody did that. The guy in the middle has a pistol, but on his pistol belt, he only has a canvass cover for his medical bandage, and no ammo pouches. Finally, the guy on the right, again he has a weapon, but no ammo pouches, so him, and the guy in the middle once they ran out of ammo that was in their weapons they'd be fucked.

Bob Boyd said...

Buwaya at 10:34, 10:37

Great comments.

Michael K said...

"I found the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to be very moving. Especially looking at the names of men who died within feet from me."

I suspect that this is an example of mellowing of the feelings about the memorial since it was built.

I still think the names could be in a memorial a little less depressing. The one in Ypres is very impressive and the names are even more.

Jupiter said...

buwaya said...

"If its not a lucky charm, then the bull has to go, it is spoiled. The damage probably has been done, in a mystical sense, no matter if the girl is removed."

That pretty much sums up the impact of feminism on Western Civilization. We had a good run. But it's over now. It takes a Muslim to deal with a feminist. Back to savagery. Or maybe just fade to black.

tcrosse said...

If they remove the Bull, maybe they could replace it with a copy of Degas' Little Dancer of Fourteen Years, to illustrate the maxim that immature artists imitate and mature artists steal.

Shane said...

"...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?"

The difference (and I am guessing you asked this rhetorically?) is the artist.

That Ms. Linn chose (or didn't think to) sue is completely irrelevant to Mr. Da Modica's action. The incorporation without permission is no different.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Maya Lin did get The Three Soldiers backed off from The Wall. The proposal had been to place The Three Soldiers nearer the apex of The Wall and she objected. So Charging Bull wins if that precedent is applied here. Also, it should be noted that the Vietnam War Memorial controversy occurred before the passage of VARA so Charging Bull has an even stronger case. But Charging Bull can be moved too. The issue is proximity not who owns the location. I don't see how the powers that be can back down on Fearless Girl now. Fearless Girl stays and Charging Bull moves is the only way this can be expected to end if Charging Bull wins on the copyright issue.

But Fearless Girl can simply outlast Charging Bull, whose creator is 76 and whose VARA rights will end with his death.

David Baker said...

@CJ;

The bull was originally (1989) placed - gorilla style - under the 60' Christmas tree in front of the NYSE on Broad Street. Granted, it didn't stay there very long because after complaints from the NYSE, the police arrested it and hauled it away - that very day. (This after attempting to choke it to death for resisting)

But too late, as the public then raised holy hell. So less than a week later, the Dept. of Parks relocated the bull two blocks away in Bowling Green. They even had a ceremony - which, btw, my third cousin, a short seller, egged.

Jupiter said...

Left Bank of the Charles said...

"But Fearless Girl can simply outlast Charging Bull, whose creator is 76 and whose VARA rights will end with his death."

Another apt commentary on feminism vs Western Civ!

Otto said...

"realistic sculpture of 3 soldiers" The 60s princess still clutching to her failed adolescent ideology.

CJ said...

@david baker

I knew it wasn't originally sanctioned by the city but didn't know the original location. Cool.

If they wanted to put the Bull where most of the money is now they ought to move it to Sandhill Road in Pali Alto.

The amount of money flying around that town makes NYC look like Peoria.

MisterBuddwing said...

I suspect that this is an example of mellowing of the feelings about the memorial since it was built.

Again, the use of the word "mellowing," as if Maya Lin's design was something we all had to get used to before we could appreciate it.

All I can do is quote James J. Kilpatrick, an early champion of Lin's design, describing his first visit to the Memorial:

"We walked, and gradually the long walls of the monument came into view. Nothing I had heard of or written prepared me for the moment. There are the names. The names! I could not speak. I wept. This memorial has a pile driver’s impact."

buwaya said...

I also doubt that the bull can be successfully erected anywhere else in the US, because there will always be the sword of Damocles hanging over it, that someone will again stick a girl in front of it.

Perhaps also the "malas" -Tagalog for "curse", but carrying the implication of bad luck - is permanent, it has been accursed. I have no idea how such a curse can be removed.

Leora said...

Fearless Girl is a kitschy piece of propaganda that is meant as a comment on the Bull. No one would look at it twice if it weren't for incorporating the Bull. Symbolically the girl suggests a foolish sense of entitlement which I personally find insulting. I belong in the boardroom as an adult who contributes to the enterprise - not as a childish token. And why is she obviously white?

AllenS said...

Michael K said...
I still think the names could be in a memorial a little less depressing

With all due respects, nobody goes there for happy thoughts.

David Baker said...

AllenS;

Excellent, insightful perspective.

Many thanks.

Michael K said...

Again, the use of the word "mellowing," as if Maya Lin's design was something we all had to get used to before we could appreciate it.

I remember a lot of resentment about that design at the time.

Maybe you don't.

I'm not trying to make a federal case of it. That was the reason for the other memorial of the three guys.

Maybe it was before your time. It's not important.

Michael K said...

God ! We seem to be on a tip here.

"With all due respects, nobody goes there for happy thoughts."

Did I say happy thoughts ?

The world is filled with war memorials. Not many are black and underground.

Michael K said...

A trip here.

Steven said...

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?

Well, the most obvious difference is that at the time of Hart's sculpture's placement (1984), the US was not a party to Berne and hadn't passed VARA. So US copyright law of the time didn't contain any moral rightsw.

At the time of Uncle Tom's Cabin, similarly, US copyright didn't have any provision on derivative works, so foreign-language translations were published without infringing Stowe's copyright. That doesn't mean you can publish a translation of a new James Patterson novel today without violating Patterson's copyright. Copyright law has changed.

Roughcoat said...

Perhaps also the "malas" -Tagalog for "curse", but carrying the implication of bad luck - is permanent, it has been accursed. I have no idea how such a curse can be removed.

As follows?:

"Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing,--
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble."

buwaya said...

Nah, that won't work.
Its much deeper and messier than that eye of newt stuff.
Out our way there is a great deal of it to be sure, but the practitioners certainly would see this bull thing as beyond them.
And it can happen inadvertently, negligently, and usually does. The "girl" organizers certainly didn't think on that level.
The resolution, if any, will not happen through magic spells.

Roughcoat said...


"Candyman, candyman, candy ..."?

khesanh0802 said...

I was a little surprised by The Wall because it seemed so different from other war memorials. One visit was all it took to convince me that it was a fitting tribute for those who had died in what turned out to be a less than glorious cause. Viet Nam was a mess but those who fought and died there did so as bravely as those in any other conflict. For those of us who know some of the names on The Wall it provides a place to remember them and then proceed to remember and honor the rest. There is no fancy architecture to distract, just row upon row of names to silently contemplate.

AllenS said...

Well said, khesanh.

Roughcoat said...

I like the Wall too. Liked it right from the start. Webb and Carhart were jerks about it. A trait that seems to come naturally to both men.

Otto said...

Amen khesanh

jaed said...

I have no idea how such a curse can be removed.

The same way it was placed, I would think: repurpose the symbolism of the girl, in the same way the girl was placed to change the bull's original meaning. Place a bronze bear sculture next to her or behind her, rearing, one paw raised, about to smash her fool head off. (She should have paid less attention to "defying" the symbol of market prosperity, and more attention to the great number of things that are a lot worse than prosperity. Fearless Girl is now Foolish Girl.)

This continues to work symbolically as a two-sculpture group, even if the Fearless Girl is removed at some point. The charging Bull and rampant Bear, symbols of the market.

Michael K said...

There is no fancy architecture to distract, just row upon row of names to silently contemplate.

Good point. It's still a very unusual war memorial.

GAHCindy said...

I think the relevant question ought to be "who owns it?". Once something is out of the artist's possession, who gives a flip what the artist thinks ought to be done with it? Great art or absolute rot, doesn't matter. It's not yours if you've been paid or given it to someone else and the transfer has been made, so you don't get to say what anyone does with it. Does it belong to the city? Can the artist just come get his bull back if he doesn't like what people do with it? As usual, I'm ignorant of the actual laws involved. I'm sure the courts will take care of this out without resorting to such plain horse sense. If a hillbilly can understand it, it's probably not complicated enough.

walter said...

bagoh20 said...
Imagine a similar bronze statue in front of the Statue of Liberty of a little boy giving her the finger.
--
Right. I mentioned this type of scenario last go round on this.
I think it will only resonate with Ann if it's something denigrating Dylan.

Otto said...

One of the most moving experiences when visiting the wall is to do a "penciling" of someone you knew.

Friedrich Engels' Barber said...

I suggest a third piece to complete the tableau – a monument to Joseph Glidden, to honor Americans who made their fortunes not through manipulation of financial markets or legal pettitfoggery, but by the invention of and entrepreneurship around something that changed lives. The piece can be a simple fence between the bull and the girl made of the barbed wire Glidden invented.

Bruce Hayden said...

@Cindy - usually you are correct. First Sale means that once an author (which includes artists) seek a copy of a work, they lose contro over it. However VARA flips this, giving the author (artist) control over the work,, and the owner of the work none of the VARA rights. A bit weird. Notably, VARA is only applicable when there are only a small number of copies (often just the one copy) in the hands of others.