Friday, April 14, 2017

More Bull (UPDATED 2X)

More coverage today of the Fearless Girl controversy.

First, Kriston Capps in The Atlantic:  Why Wall Street’s Charging Bull Sculptor Has No Real Case Against Fearless Girl.

And a piece in The Christian Science Monitor, with fresh quotes from:

Amy Adler:  "The possibility of changed meaning is, unsure, painful for an artist, but also something we should celebrate as a public policy matter. I think that’s exactly what any kind of arts policy ought to encourage. That dynamism of meaning that we see in the evolution of the space.”

And Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento:  "The way that the art market is now, works of art are selling for millions of dollars. The courts of law are no longer saying 'This is about pure expression.' This is probably now commercial activity. It’s no different than selling trinkets on eBay or selling goods on Fifth Avenue. Art may not be about expression anymore. It’s about pure commodity."

And Alfred Steiner joins the fray:  "The artist may have made the work for a particular reason, but they lose control over that meaning over time."

UPDATE:  Ann Althouse quotes an artist/IP lawyer who makes the case (as some others, including Di Modica's lawyers, have) that the real issue is not VARA but the fact that Fearless Girl is an unauthorized derivative work:  "Fearless Girl is a work of art that incorporates Charging Bull without permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized use of a copyrighted work — unless it falls within some narrow exceptions — is straight up copyright infringement. ... You can’t control how people view your copyrighted work necessarily, but you can certainly prohibit them from using it without authorization. The relevant factual question would be, does Fearless Girl use the bull sculpture?"  To which she responds:  "Note that the 'Fearless Girl' statue is not attached to 'Charging Bull.' She's not riding it or grabbing it by the horns or even right up in its face. ... There's some distance between the 2 sculptures. It is possible to look at them independently and see them one at a time without the other necessarily intruding into your field of vision. You, the viewer, can also choose to position yourself so as to see them together and think of them together. The 'Charging Bull' sculptor wants to own the space in the vicinity of his work. If he's right, it would seem that artists could push around museum curators for grouping pieces together."

UPDATE 2:  Greg Fallis points out that Fearless Girl is "an extremely clever advertising scheme" by an investment fund called State Street Global Advisors; it was "commissioned as part of an advertising campaign developed by McCann, a global advertising corporation[,] ... to be presented on the first anniversary of State Street Global’s 'Gender Diversity Index' fund, which has the following NASDAQ ticker symbol: SHE."  And he says Di Modica has a point:  "I love the Fearless Girl and I resent her. She’s an example of how commercialization can take something important and meaningful — something about which everybody should agree — and shit all over it by turning it into a commodity. Fearless Girl is beautiful, but she is selling SHE; that’s why she’s there."

Or, as Paul Graham puts it:  "[T]he Fearless Girl is part of a corporate PR campaign that has totally p0wned Polite Opinion."