A New York artist expressed his views on Wall Street’s hotly debated “Fearless Girl” statue by temporarily adding Monday his own sculpture: a pug peeing on the girl’s leg.
Artist Alex Gardega placed his statue, called “Sketchy Pug,” next to “Fearless Girl” for about three hours Monday as a show of support for Arturo Di Modica, the artist who created the iconic Wall Street bull.
Mr. Di Modica has challenged the city’s decision to allow “Fearless Girl” to remain until March standing athwart his statue, “Charging Bull,” saying it has changed the message conveyed by his sculpture from positive to negative.
“I have a lot of empathy for the creator of the bull, Arturo,” Mr. Gardega told NBC 4 New York. “I’m a pretty happy person, not seething or angry and certainly not anti-feminist. My piece is not without a sense of humor. There is plenty of room for ‘Fearless Girl,’ it just interferes with another artist’s work/vision.”
While “Fearless Girl” has been praised on the left for sending a defiant feminist message, critics have pointed out that it was commissioned by State Street Global Advisors, one of the world’s largest investment banks.
Mr. Di Modica spent three years and more than $350,000 of his own money creating the 7,100-pound “Charging Bull” before dropping it off at the New York Stock Exchange in 1989.
Mr. Gardega described “Fearless Girl” as more of an advertisement for SSGA than a work of art. A plaque at the foot of the statue includes the company’s name.
“That piece was not made by some individual artist making a statement,” Mr. Gardega told NBC News. “It was made by a billion-dollar financial firm trying to promote an index fund. It is advertising/promotion in the guise of art. That was my only point.”
Mr. Gardega said he removed “Sketchy Pug” himself at about noon Monday.
“I took it away personally,” Mr. Gardega said. “I didn’t want to leave it to be taken and certainly had no rights to bolt it to the ground. Most people were amused or perplexed by it.”
New York City Mayor Bill di Blasio said in March that he would allow “Fearless Girl” to remain until the next International Women’s Day, which is March 8, saying that it represents “standing up to fear, standing up to power, being able to find in yourself the strength to do what’s right.”
A plaque at the feet of “Fearless Girl” says, “Know the power of women in leadership/SHE makes a difference,” followed by “State Street Global Advisors.”
“SHE” is the ticker name for the company’s Gender Diversity Index fund, launched in March 2016.
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