A Wall Street Stare-Down

The plaza just above Bowling Green downtown has drawn huge crowds since 1989, when the infamous Charging Bull statue took residence there. This week, it gained a new neighbor... a 50-inch statue of a defiant little girl, cast in bronze. It was commissioned by a firm called State Street Global Advisors ahead of International Womens Day to bring attention to the gender pay disparity in many other financial firms. The piece was created by, of course, a female artist named Kristen Visbal. It has been a magnet for tourists and local photographers all week.

The piece, in theory, is only temporary. But so, once, was Charging Bull itself.

That sculpture began as a piece of guerilla art (as discussed in my previous blog on street art), by artist Arturo Di Modica, dumped under a Christmas tree in front of the NY Stock Exchange in '89. Unlike this current installation, Di Modica did not get city consent for his actions. It was originally considered an act of vandalism by city officials! The Bull was moved away from Wall Street to its current home in late 1989 by the city, and was only ever meant to be temporary (Di Modica himself still owns the piece; it is on indefinite loan to the city). But time, and global love, have ensured that Charging Bull remains as a permanent part of the NYC landscape.

Will this new statue have the same fortune? “We’re actively pursuing that it stays for a month,” a spokesperson for State Street told Reuters news service. “If the city decides that it should stay in perpetuity, we’re absolutely on board with that.”

In the meantime, the stare-down of the century is taking place down on Broadway. Our money's on the girl.