Bowling Green Park
New York City, NY 10004
When you are in lower Manhattan and are visiting the Battery Park and/or Wall Street area don’t miss the Charging Bull statue by artist Arturo Di Modica. The artist created this piece of ‘guerrilla’ art after the Crash of 1987, when we were about to enter the depths of another major recession, one that went from the end of 1987 until the summer of 1995.
This interesting piece of New York history is actually a recent addition to the street art of New York City. The statue was created and cast in 1987 following the Crash and made its first appearance outside the New York Stock Exchange on December 15, 1989.
The bull according to the artist, “represents the symbol of the strength and power of the American people’ following the Crash. It has taken on many meanings since such as the power of Wall Street and the progressiveness of money and power in the Financial industry.
During the high tourist season expect to see the statue surrounded by tourist taking pictures in all directions. The statue of ‘Charging Bull’ is now paired with ‘Fearless Girl’ by artist Kristen Visbal. Some have commented that it has changed the meaning of the statue but I think it is how you interpret both works. Its best to visit and make your own opinion.
While you are visiting the statue, take time to visit this historic section of Manhattan and visit the other sites that include Bowling Green Park, the Museum of the Native Americans, Frances Tavern and Stone Street as well as the boats to Governor’s, Ellis and Liberty Islands. It is a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.
Please refer to my blog, ‘MywalkinManhattan.com’- “Day One Hundred and Thirteen Tour of Historic Pubs and Bars in Lower Manhattan with the Cornell Club” for a full list of things to see in this section of the City.
History of Charging Bull:
Construction and installation:
The bull was cast by the Bedi-Makky Art Foundry in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Di Modica spent around $360,000 to create, cast and install the sculpture following the 1987 stock market crash as a symbol of the ‘strength and power of the American people’. The sculpture was Di Modica’s idea and in an act of ‘guerrilla art’, Bedi Makky Art Foundry and Di Modica trucked it to Lower Manhattan. On December 15, 1989, they installed it beneath a 60 foot (18m) Christmas tree in the middle of Broad Street in front of the New York Stock Exchange as a Christmas gift to New Yorkers. That day, hundreds of onlookers stopped to admire and analyze it as Di Modica handed out copies of a flier about his artwork (Wiki).
NYSE officials called the police later that day and the NYPD seized the sculpture and placed it into a impound lot. The ensuing public outcry led the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to reinstall it two blocks south of the Exchange in the Bowling Green, with a ceremony on December 21, 1989. It faces up Broadway at Whitehall Street (Wiki).
Confusion over ownership:
The sculpture technically has a temporary permit allowing it to stand on city property since the city does not own the sculpture but the temporary permission has lasted since 1989, when city officials said the new location would not be permanent. Art on loan is usually limited to a year’s display and although the city does not buy art, it does accept donations. A writer in the New York Daily News wrote in 1998 that the statue’s placement was ‘beginning to look a mite permanent.’ According to an article in Art Monthly, Di Modica as well as officials and New Yorkers, ‘view it as a permanent feature of Lower Manhattan (Wiki).
In 2004, Di Modica announced that the bull sculpture was for sale, on condition the buyer does not move it from its present location. Di Modica continues to own the artistic copyright to the statue. In 2006, Di Modica sued Wal-Mart and other companies for illegally benefiting from his copyright, by selling replicas of the bull and using it in advertising campaigns. In 2009, Di Modica sued Random House for using a photo of the bull on the cover of a book discussing the collapse of financial services firm Lehman Brothers (Wiki).
Artist Arturo Di Modica:
Arturo Di Modica first conceived of the Charging Bull as a way to celebrate the can-do spirit of America and especially New York, where people from all over the world come regardless of their origin or circumstances and through determination and hard work overcome every obstacle to become successful. It’s this symbol of virility and courage that Arturo saw as the perfect antidote to the Wall Street Crash of 1987.
The artist was born in Vittoria, Italy in 1941 and studied at the Academia Del Nudo Libra in Florence, Italy in 1960. In 1973, he relocated to New York City to a Lower Manhattan space. ‘Charging Bull’ is his most famous piece (Artnet).