New York’s Fearless Girl statue, that has become a global symbol of female business prowess, will be moved from her spot staring down Wall Street’s bronze Charging Bull to a new home facing the New York Stock Exchange.
And the bull, a long-time fixture and tourist attraction at the foot of Broadway, may wind up following in her footsteps. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that Fearless Girl, a sculpture by Kristen Visbal of a girl with her hands on her hips and chin pointed up, will be moved by the end of the year to a permanent home near the stock exchange.
The statue was installed in March 2017 by the Boston-based State Street Global Advisors financial firm as a temporary display lasting a few weeks to encourage corporations to put more women on their boards. But its popularity spawned an online petition seeking to keep it. The city agreed.
Much of its popularity hinged on its juxtaposition with the 11-foot-tall (3-meter-tall), 7,100-pound bull statue, which Italian sculptor Arturo Di Modica created as a symbol of American financial resilience following the 1987 stock market crash. Di Modica wanted the girl gone, saying she altered the dynamic of his bull and was no more than what he called “an advertising trick”.
Relief for the sculptor, though, may not be coming. “The Bull will almost certainly be moved and will very likely wind up reunited with Fearless Girl,” de Blasio’s spokesman, Eric Phillips, wrote on Twitter. The two figures on a Broadway traffic median have become such a popular draw that it constitutes a safety hazard, with crowds often spilling into the street, city officials said.
After the announcement, visitors from around the world swirled around the ponytailed girl in a windblown dress. The bull and the girl belong together, said Martine Guillon, a high school teacher visiting from Paris. “A little girl can be stronger than a big animal; she’s a human mental force that is bigger than animal force,” Guillon said in her native French. “It touches me a lot to see, in front of this enormity, the force of a little girl with her hands on her hips who knows how to say, ‘I’m here too, I count too, and even if I’m a very little girl, if you push with animal strength, you won’t get far’.”
The relocation to the stock exchange, three blocks away, would bring the bull back to its original place where it was delivered on a forklift truck as guerrilla art during the night in December 1989 to express financial survival after the stock market collapse. “Moving her to the stock exchange will show that a woman really has a place there,” said Lin Mateedulsatit, a 26-year-old woman who works for a chemical trading company in Thailand.