Saturday, June 17, 2017

Arts Squabble

Occupy Wall Street, September 2011. Barricades remained for three years following the protests.

Urinating dog joins Wall Street statue row
May 2017, BBC

The Merrill Lynch 'Charging Bull' is the focus of some public/art controversy, after someone put a sculpture of a 'fearless girl' staring-down the bull, and then someone else put a 'pissing pug,' pissing on the girl. A timeline should help:

Stock market crash.

Artist Arturo Di Modica puts the 7,000-pound bronze bull right there in front of the New York Stock Exchange without telling anyone or getting any permission. (That's called guerilla art). Later that day it gets removed by police, placed in an impound lot, but later reinstalled a couple blocks away. The bull was meant to symbolize financial optimism and prosperity.

March 2017
Kristen Visbal puts Fearless Girl right in front ot the Bull. The Girl was commissioned by State Street Global Advisers for a fund on the market that considers itself gender-diverse. The Bull was paid for by Di Modica, the artist himself. The Girl was paid for by a firm. Di Modica calls it a dis to his bull, an act of commerce, not of altruism. She, the Girl, was commissioned to highlight gender inequality, but she was paid for by a firm that trades on the stock exchange.

May 2017
Alex Gardega makes a little dog sculpture, and has it pissing on the girl. He calls the Girl "corporate nonsense."

It's really hard to argue that the statue of the girl has to do with gender inequality when you look at who commissioned it.

Unfortunately, because gender equality IS an issue, lots of people get lots of pissed when the girl gets dissed. Un-further-fortunately, because income inequality and corporate takeover are an even bigger problem than gender inequality, people are more upset that the symbolic girl is getting pissed on by a dog than they are that we as a society are getting pissed on by the entities that constitute the stock market, for example.

It does seem like a cheap trick, the Girl, that is.

But let's not forget that the Bull was already the voodoo doll of the Occupy Wall Street movement back in 2011, such that it was protected by barricades for three years following the protest. It represents the thing that has shaken the moral compass of Western society - corporate greed and power.

Personally, I would really, really, really like to see a bronze barricade placed around that bull.

image source: link

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