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A Fearless Bronze Girl Has Been Installed to "Take Down" the Wall Street Bull

For International Women's Day, artist Kristen Visbal and photographer Federica Valabrega installed a sculpture of a young girl bravely facing Arturo Di Modica's 'Charging Bull.'

by Beckett Mufson
Mar 8 2017, 4:32pm

Instagram via @federicavalabrega

It's a scene that should strike pure terror into any parent or compassionate bystander: a four-foot-tall girl standing stock-still just feet away from an enraged bull. Even the most daring matador wouldn't like her odds. Yet the beast stands still, seemingly mesmerized by the girl's confidence and bravery. Even though both foes are motionless and cast in bronze, the scene is inspiring.

The beast is Arturo Di Modica's 1987 sculpture, Charging Bull, and the girl is a project from artist Kristen Visbal, New York ad agency McCann, and money managing company State Street Global Advisors (SSGA). The motley crew of collaborators installed the bull's female challenger in Bowling Green Park between Monday and Tuesday night. Titled, The Fearless Girl, she's accompanied by a statement from SSGA about the need for workplace gender equality, just in time for International Women'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," SSGA CEO Ron O'Hanley says in a statement. The corporation has pledged to push 3,500 companies worth $30 trillion to represent women equally on their boards.

Echoing the statement, a plaque at the The Fearless Girl's feet reads, "Know the power of women in leadership makes a difference."

Visbal practices lost wax bronze casting, having studied under William Turner in Virginia and apprenticed at the Johnson Atelier Art Foundry in New Jersey to perfect her lifelike capture of movement. Among her other monumental works is the largest sculpture of Alexander Hamilton in the world. She now works out of a vineyard in Delaware.

While The Fearless Girl seems to mirror Di Modica's guerrilla installation of Charging Bull, which was authorized by the city only after locals fell in love with it, McCann has acquired permission for the artwork to stay in its lower Manhattan locale for at least a week. Artnet reports reports the agency is negotiating with the city to lengthen its tenure. 

Italian photographer Federica Valabrega captured the moment of The Fearless Girl's installation, writing on Instagram, "Worth all the trip back from Texas, the multiple 4 AM wake-up calls and the rain to meet and photographer[sic] her in all of her beauty and stance. She is the icone [sic] of femininity and women power and she will, 'take down the Wall Street Bull' one step at the time [sic]."

See the process of creating The Fearless Girl below.

Learn more about Kristen Visbal on her website.

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