April 13, 2017

"Sculptor wants 'Fearless Girl' to back down (or at least step away)."

"The sculptor of the celebrated 'Charging Bull' statue in New York City’s Bowling Green has complained that the recent installation nearby of another statue, 'Fearless Girl,' violates his copyright...."

81 comments:

Darrell said...

His copyright ends at the footprint of his sculpture.

Owen said...

What Darell said. I see no way to manage an extension of the concept of creative work into the environment surrounding the work itself. Any court with half a brain is going to toss such an argument. Any attorney with a lick of sense is going to know that a court will do that, and (after appropriate research at $500/hour) will so advise the client.

This is just silly.

Althouse, are you trolling us?

Owen said...

If the sculptor is really upset, he should out-flank Fearless Girl by putting up some other works that defeat or compromise what her "message" seems to be. Rinse, repeat. Hey, it's art.

Bob Boyd said...

The Bull represents men getting rich so it's no surprise when girls start showing up.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The sculptor could always go the Howard Roark route...

buwaya said...

Does an artist have a right to keep his work from being defaced by his patron and his intended message subverted?

And in this case, because of ambiguous ownership, who is his patron?

That is what this is, a defacement, like drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa.
Perhaps, in the case of a hypothetical Mona Lisa defacement, it would be justified as a political symbol of transgender rights or something, just like this is a political symbol.

The message of the defacement is also obvious, it is of the assumed moral authority of leftist suppression of capitalism. The little girl is asserting authority to prevent the bull from going where he will. Communism, and the devil for that matter, will find attractive symbols.

Both bull and girl are propaganda.

Danny K said...

When the stock market tanks they will quietly remove the girl.

buwaya said...

"Any court with half a brain"

It has nothing to do with courts. This is a propaganda battle, yet another of the war of religion in Western Civ that's been going on since the 19th century.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Put a fearless girl in front of a charging bull and she won't be so fearless anymore.

I used to stand fearlessly like that when we played Red Rover. Until one day Billy Malone ran at me with a dead mouse in his hand.

Oso Negro said...

Perhaps there needs to be a bronze of an Asian man taking an upskirt photo of "Fearless Girl" just to keep it real.

Owen said...

buwaya: "...both bull and girl are propaganda." Indeed!

But I return (perhaps myopically) to my technical objection. How much of the physical world around your creative work are you allowed to control? If the "mustache on the Mona Lisa" were not an actual defacing of the work, but a work physically adjacent to the painting, would that be as objectionable? What if it were only a cyber pop-up that appeared at some random but non-trivial rate when one went to the digital Louvre?

Forgive me for trying to test the principle from some "what-if" cases but without them I think this becomes utter bullshit in a hurry.

In this particular case, bullshit would be the entirely correct figure of speech...

Infinite Monkeys said...

I tried to think of what could be between the statues for her to be looking at instead of the bull. The first thing I thought of was a full-length mirror. Tumblr would freak out.

David Baker said...

"His copyright ends at the footprint of his sculpture."

Disagree. The location/area is not random. It's integral to the artwork.

Still, if it were up to me, I'd move the bull periodically. As it is now, it's a bit too far from its genesis; the stock exchange and Wall Street. It seems whenever I'm in the neighborhood - which is seldom - a tourist invariably asks; "Mister, do you know where the bull is?"

Tourists are also surprised to discover that the NYSE in not on Wall Street.



David53 said...

Who owns the bull? If it were mine I would remove it and sell it to some rich guy from Dallas or Houston. It would look great next to the gate of my multi-million dollar ranch. Maybe Trump could buy it and place it on the grounds of his Mar-a-Lago golf course, that would be fun!

Unknown said...

What is the point of the fearless girl statue? Fearless girls are against a strong economy?

LYNNDH said...

I guess next they need to a statue of a boy looking contritely in front of the girl. After all it is now a "Girls" world.

exiledonmainstreet said...

The girl reminds me of Monet's ballerina statue, except with more attitude:

http://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=P2xvDuUn&id=E8AEFF1AF636D87FE61C5109268C7B34C926B7E5&q=monet%27s+statue+of+ballerina&simid=608046188043961952&selectedIndex=0&ajaxhist=0

CJ said...

I'm going to disagree here - I think it does violate the artist's copyright. Can I go put up a piece of my own that surround the Jeff Koons balloon structure on the public easement at the 1WTC?

CJ said...

"Tourists are also surprised to discover that the NYSE in not on Wall Street."

Yes it is - it's on Bond and Wall.

CJ said...

Infinite Monkeys gets it - OK, let's put a piece of art between the Bull and the Fearless Girl then...do you think the Fearless Girl artist (which is a boardroom of corporate suits by the way) would think their copyright is violated?

rehajm said...

rehajm said...
...and why is 'Fearless Girl' a symbol of strength? One of the responsibilities of a parent is to instill rational fears in your children. 'Fearless Girl' is a failure of parenting and a symbol of stupidity for girl that's old enough to know better.

4/12/17, 3:23 PM

rcocean said...

"Fearless girls are against a strong economy?"

Yep. Girls are so brave, they'll come out against prosperity.

If boys and girls were really equal, we wouldn't be constantly trying to "inspire" girls to be brave and fearless.

David Baker said...

CJ said..."Yes it is - it's on Bond and Wall."

Have you ever been there (NYSE)? While I understand that they're commonly listed at 11 Wall, the building actually faces Broad Street. The main entrance is 18 Broad Street.

rcocean said...

The fearless little Girl is art.

Real life - at least according to NPR - is Women cowering after Trump's election, "Scared of Trump's America".

n.n said...

This is a clear infringement of the bull's rights. Have any animal advocacy groups weighed in on the symbolism? The bull just wants to be free.

Owen said...

I am loving this cyber-debate. What does copyright cover, but more widely what can the artist or owner of the "work" protect/enforce in the environment around the work? Moral rights seem to impinge on this question.

Put another way, if I am Michelangelo and produce a heartbreakingly beautiful work (by the lights of Established Art Industry), may I demand that my work not be stuffed in a closet? That it be "suitably displayed" with "proper lighting" and "enough unobstructed lines of sight that the Viewer may derive the Full Experience?"

Hmm?

Big Mike said...

In real life that fearless little girl would be knocked flat and left in critical condition, if not dead.

rhhardin said...

Put a charging bull behind the fearless girl.

rhhardin said...

An indifferent cow could be added to the side.

buwaya said...

The proper, and properly symbolic, solution is to remove the bull, and sell it abroad, perhaps to India. The US is no longer the proper home of capitalism's animal spirits, being as it is being progressively converted into a society of suppressed drones.

Michael said...

I never understood the little girl. Is she a short in opposition to the bull market? Against Wall Street? Or just another sad scared little girl telling the mean bull to go away.

Michael said...

I vote for another iteration, the bull goring the stupid little girl. Not Ferdinand, bitch.

Bob Boyd said...

Put an adult woman with a gun about to shoot the bull and save the clueless girl.

Bob Boyd said...

Or a couple guys in white coats with a butterfly net about to recapture the poor dementia walk away girl before the real world harms her.

Bob Boyd said...

Or just change the name from 'Fearless Girl' to 'First Time Investor'.

n.n said...

buwaya:

progressively converted into a society of suppressed drones

An unavoidable side-effect of civilization or a means to an end for a minority takeover?

Q. said...

Or, at least, label the sculpture: "An unfortunate incident involving a girl and a bull" or "You'll never believe what happened next"

walter said...

Fearless Girl is engaging in "appropriation".
It might be legal..but it's..bullshit.

walter said...

Imagine if instead of a bull, it was a cherished public figure and Fearless girl was raising her middle finger.

Bob Loblaw said...

Does an artist have a right to keep his work from being defaced by his patron and his intended message subverted?

I'm not sure "defacement" is the right word here. The bull isn't damaged, and the girl statue isn't so close you couldn't ignore her if you were there.

Cath said...

Bob Boyd @1:44 PM - that made me laugh out loud.

Freeman Hunt said...

There could be a sculpture war.

Next entry: Yearning Humbert Humbert.

Freeman Hunt said...

Then maybe: Wrathful Millstone Descending. Challenging to design.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Isn't it obvious that if he wins the lawsuit, Fearless Girl will stay and his bull will have to be moved.

Bob Boyd said...

Maybe the bull isn't charging her at all. Maybe it's happy to see her because she works as a specimen collector for an artificial insemination company....which has been so successful since they hired Fearless Girl that they have gone public.

Sammy Finkelman said...

The way it's now, the sculptor says, it looks like she's fighting the bull (or defying it at least) and the bull is not supposed to be a menace.

He says he has a contract. He threatenes to turn the bull around and have it face the other way.

Sammy Finkelman said...

The way it's now it's like that Chinese man in front of the tank.

TestTube said...

The Fearless Girl statue was, according to Wikipedia a marketing gimmick, promoting an index fund and apparently one of those "Woke" funds at that -- holding companies that had a lot of women in senior management. Goes by the ticker symbol of SHE.

This fund was started around April of 2016. In the last year, it has under-performed the market -- SHE has returned about 3.3%, while NASDAQ has gone up 12.22%, the Dow 14.54%, and NASDAQ 17.84

The entire situation is just bursting with layers upon layers of metaphoric significance.

buwaya said...

"The way it's now it's like that Chinese man in front of the tank."

Exactly what its meant to be.

"He threatens to turn the bull around and have it face the other way."

That would work very well!

Bob Boyd said...

Amjizco

Darrell said...

He should be more worried about anarchists cutting the balls off--like they did on Mr. Robot.

Freeman Hunt said...

The way it's now, the sculptor says, it looks like she's fighting the bull (or defying it at least) and the bull is not supposed to be a menace.

That's why I've never liked the Fearless Girl sculpture. What is it saying? Women hurt the market? Gee, thanks.

Bill said...

She reminds me of lethally bratty Rhoda Penmark.

Owen said...

Bob Boyd: "Or just change the name from 'Fearless Girl' to 'First Time Investor'."

Thread winner. Laslo should check his six.

Steven said...

The problem is the US signing on to the Berne Convention with its idiotic French-invented "moral rights of the artist" clause, and then passing the Visual Artists Rights Act.

Thus, this isn't actually clear-cut legally; a court that just threw it out would be doing a disservice to the law. The question here is, does the addition of the "Fearless Girl" in that position, thus casting the bull as a villain in what is arguably a larger artwork consisting of both the bull and the girl, constitute a "distortion, mutilation, or modification" of the original work that would "prejudice the author's honor or reputation"?

There are far too many debatable, nebulous terms in there for a court to throw the case out. It'll need actual analysis of the facts, and probably testimony from experts on art.

Professional lady said...

I have to admit that the location of the two statues in relation to each other strikes me as stupid. Is it supposed to encourage children to stand in front of charging large animals? Moving cars? Oncoming trains? It's just dumb to me. It's not even interesting or thought provoking. That whole "I am woman, I can do anything" thing is just so trite.

heyboom said...

I think this is clearly a violation of his copyright because the message of having the girl there is totally reliant on interaction with the bull. That's how everyone has been interpreting it since it went up. If you put that girl up anywhere else, nobody would know what the message was at all.

eric said...

Ever since Fearless girl showed up, the market has been moving down.

This is the argument the original sculptor should be making. It's nonsense. But superstition can move mountains.

jaed said...

The symbolism is... bizarre: "Heroic Girl Stands in Opposition to Prosperity for All". (Although if indeed it was a marketing gimmick on behalf of a SJW-type investment fund, maybe that does make sense.) There are certainly people who don't know what the bull symbolizes in the context of the stock market, but I wouldn't expect investment fund board members to be among those people....

My candidate for an addition: a bear statue standing behind the little girl, plate-sized paw poised to swipe. Oops, should have chosen your enemies more wisely, Fearless Girl. And it completes the symbolism. It works even if they remove or move the girl statue: the Bear and the Bull, locked in mortal combat.

eric said...

Blogger Freeman Hunt said...
The way it's now, the sculptor says, it looks like she's fighting the bull (or defying it at least) and the bull is not supposed to be a menace.

That's why I've never liked the Fearless Girl sculpture. What is it saying? Women hurt the market? Gee, thanks.


What else could it be saying?

Women want the market to go down?
Women don't like people investing their money in markets?

I fail to find a positive message here.

Fernandinande said...

In Trump's America, copyright violates you.

Owen said...

Steven: "...There are far too many debatable, nebulous terms in there for a court to throw the case out. It'll need actual analysis of the facts, and probably testimony from experts on art."

Ka-effing-CHING!!!!

Yes. We need a whole lot of depositions here.

My preliminary estimate to settle this dispute: $10MM.

If people are super-angry? $50MM.

If they are reasonable? $7MM.

A great, great business.

eddie willers said...

"The way it's now it's like that Chinese man in front of the tank."

If the bull charges it will be the Chinese doctor being dragged down the aisle.

Etienne said...

To be fair, both should be melted down and the result used to make something artistic.

Then the sidewalk can be used for its copyrighted purpose.

Etienne said...

I was trying to think what could be better, and I thought about the poor Syrian peasants who are suffering under the CIA/KGB proxy war.

How about a Syrian family of immigrants holding American flags (made in China) with twin girls in coffins being pulled behind them, and a statue of Trump doing a stiff-arm and blocking their way, and holding a Navy ship in his other hand.

Then behind Trump have some CIA agents kindling a campfire, representing the men who blew-up Syria in the first place.

That would be Wall Street art.

Etienne said...

The fearless girl should be standing up to something requiring bravery.

Let me think, wait, I know, she should be standing against God for making Adam dominate over Eve.

Like Eve, she is here to screw our male dominated Paradise for equality.

Then blame any problems on the Palestinian's (serpents).

All we are saying - is give fruit a chance.

buwaya said...

"Ever since Fearless girl showed up, the market has been moving down."

Correct, omens are important. People are funny that way.

MayBee said...

I'm with those who don't get what the symbolism of "Fearless Girl" is supposed to be.

And I'm embarrassed for the women who see a need for it and empowerment in it.

You like fearless females? Celebrate Arwa Damon.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Darrell said...His copyright ends at the footprint of his sculpture.

That makes sense to me, but then I remember that post from a few days ago where a judge let a lawsuit about a property owner painting over/destroying a mural on his wall...who knows anymore?

Related: The Board of Company that Commissioned "Fearless Girl" Has Only 3 Women
3/11 on the Board, 5 out of 28 on their leadership team.
Mote, beam; whatever.

harrogate said...

I thought it was entertaining how he or his lawyer said the Bull represents "freedom in the world," "peace," and even, for heaven's sake, "love."

It's like, can the rest of us have what they're smoking?

buwaya said...

"I thought it was entertaining how he or his lawyer said the Bull represents "freedom in the world," "peace," and even, for heaven's sake, "love."

It is actually the western equivalent of a Hindu Ganesh, who grants success and prosperity.
A practical sort of idol.

Aric said...

"Fearless Girl" is a child standing up against prosperity.

In other words, a perfect symbol of feminism.

John said...

What about ownership? I just read the story and it is unclear who owns the bull and the spot where it is placed. My impression is that the sculptor owns the bull, though that is not made clear. It does say that he had no authorization to place it where he did.

Is that city property? Did the city, or whoever the owner is, eventually give the sculptor the right to place the bull there?

Who owns the spot where the girl is placed? I am guessing the same entity and I am guessing that they had permission from that entity to place the statue.

Unless there is some contractual agreement of the property owner not to place any other statue near the bull, it seems to me that the sculptor has no legal grounds for complaint.

This kind of ties back to the rights of the mural painters the other day, doesn't it? and the rights of the property owner.

A related question: If I buy a work of art from a famous artist do I have any obligation to the artist? Absent any explicit agreement, of course. If I buy a Picasso, for example, can I cut the nose out of the painting, say something like "This is the only good part of the painting" and burn the rest? A la Guy Grand/Ringo Starr.

John Henry

buwaya said...

"What about ownership? "

What does law have to do with it?
This is a mystical matter, of symbols, omens, bull-gods, and blasphemy.

wildswan said...

In between the girl and the bull put a guy diverting the bull like a bull fighter. Then she is standing there, fearlessly admiring him.

Then both artists could claim artistic infringement.

Zach said...

The irony of the whole thing is that the bull statue was built by the sculptor on his own dime and dropped off in the middle of the night without any permission, just to make an artistic statement. And the Fearless Girl is a soulless advertising gimmick!

Regardless of the law, the sculptor has a valid point. The girl statue doesn't have any meaning in its own right. Its only meaning derives from recontextualizing the bull statue in a way that the artist didn't intend.

Zach said...

In contrast to the Metafilter folks, I like the bull much more than the bull + girl.

The bull by itself is interesting and evocative. The bull + girl is just insipid, a Hummel statue in bronze. It's the sort of publicly approved lie that nobody believes but nobody wants to contradict in public.

Zach said...

Interesting hypothetical: the Nabokov Society of America commissions a *third* statue -- of Humbert Humbert standing in front of Fearless Girl and leering. Now Fearless Girl is half of a diptych celebrating pedophilia. Does the soulless hedge fund have a case for removing Humbert?

Renee said...

You ride the Bull. Only clowns step in front of a Bull's way.

CJ said...

@David Baker
"Have you ever been there (NYSE)? While I understand that they're commonly listed at 11 Wall, the building actually faces Broad Street. The main entrance is 18 Broad Street."

Yes, I used to work at 48 Wall and I actually lived at 71 Broadway for a bit. The trader's entrance to the NYSE is on Wall Street and the famous facade of the NYSE is most easily visible from Wall St.

William Chadwick said...

They should move Fearless Girl directly in front of the entrance to the NYC HQ of the IRS.