The "Fearless Girl" statue, a temporary art installation that was placed near the Financial District "Charging Bull" sculpture as part of a wildly successful publicity stunt for a global investment firm, will remain through next year, mayor Bill de Blasio announced yesterday.
"In her short time here, the Fearless Girl has fueled powerful conversations about women in leadership and inspired so many," de Blasio said in a statement. "Now, she’ll be asserting herself and affirming her strength even after her temporary permit expires—a fitting path for a girl who refuses to quit."
State Street Global Advisors [SSGA] commissioned the artwork and placed it at Bowling Green in conjunction with International Woman's Day. "Today, we are calling on companies to take concrete steps to increase gender diversity on their boards and have issued clear guidance to help them begin to take action," Ron O’Hanley, president and chief executive officer of SSGA, said when the statue appeared. There are only three women on SSGA's 11-person board; their top executive ranks feature 20-30% women.
The statue was originally scheduled to be removed after a week, but due to its popularity with selfie-takers and politicians, its stay was extended to April 2nd. Now it will reportedly remain through February 2018. It's unclear if SSGA is paying the city anything for the extended placement.
Arturo Di Modica, the artist who made the "Charging Bull" sculpture and installed it outside the New York Stock Exchange without permission in 1989, has reportedly threatened to sue if the "Fearless Girl" statue is not removed next month, accusing State Street of copyright infringement. "I put it there for art," he told MarketWatch. "My bull is a symbol for America. My bull is a symbol of prosperity and for strength. Women, girls, that’s great, but that’s not what that (my sculpture) is."
Other critics are bothered by what they say is the statue's infantilization of feminism, in addition to the apparent hypocrisy of an investment firm calling for gender diversity when only three members of its board are female. (Last week we offered some alternative female statue ideas.)
NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, who has joined other politicians in asking the city to make the installation permanent, has scheduled a press conference at City Hall at 10:30 this morning to discuss the fate of "Fearless Girl." Stay tuned for updates.
Update 10:11 a.m.: James has issued this statement calling for the statue to be permanent, not just extended for a year: "Fearless Girl stands as a symbol to women young and old, and I’m pleased that the Mayor is extending her permit. However, the importance of empowering women is not temporary, and Fearless Girl must become a permanent fixture in our City as a reminder to all women that no dream is too big and no ceiling is too high."