Public art appears fairly frequently on the streets of New York. Iconic, politically charged public art that has everyone talking about it immediately? Not so much.
In the wee hours of International Women’s Day Eve, a little girl appeared in NYC’s Financial District.
That is very much not my picture. It’s Brendan McDermid’s (nice one Brendan). I can only imagine this photo was taken at 6:30AM, that brief time after sunrise and before the work rush. The fact that there are not mobs of tourists in this photo blows my mind. There are always swarms of tourists waiting to get their picture with the New York iconic Charging Bull.
He captures everything about the ruthless nature of Wall Street, from the bull shit to the requisite big balls. Oh yeah, people line up to be photographed fondling his balls- it’s every cliché finance bro’s dream!
This raging bull is hyper-masculinity incarnate, hanging out every day in the corner of NYC still categorized by powerful men in suits.
So to have a little bronze girl appear over night, standing up to this bronze creature with his molded face full of aggression and sculpted balls hanging rigid in the wind? It’s awesome. It’s exciting! This is the art we hope for!
One image speaking powerful metaphors in a more visceral way than most elegantly worded speeches.
Our bronze girl stands defiantly in front of her giant horned, bronze adversary. Not surprisingly, it was impossible to get the full effect of that image if you were down at Wall Street today, on International Women’s Day.
Visiting Wall Street’s New Bronze Little Lady on International Women’s Day
The crowd around the little girl was thick, a charging bull would have to mow down at least 50 people before even getting close to her.
Yeah, that’s what it was like. She’s in there somewhere! Every iPhone pointed at her with more excitement than Lady Gaga at the super bowl. Or Kamala Harris at the Women’s March.
Everyone and their entire HR department wanted their picture with this defiant little bronze lady today. Many women wearing red, some pulling pussy hats out of their work bags to pose with.
I had a 1:30PM meeting right by City Hall today. Not exactly work as I’m not being paid for it. It’s also not exactly a strike when you don’t have a conventional schedule and this was my day off before working all weekend…
It was a 7 minute walk in the sun from my meeting to check out this scene. As a lover of public art, women’s rights, and standing up to bull shit, of course I had to see her for myself.
It was a little weird seeing all the people posing for the perfect #WomensDay, #GirlPower Instagram.
I didn’t take a picture with her. Sorry to anyone looking for proof that I was actually there and actually took these photos. I was, I promise. No judgement to all these no doubt wonderful women who did. It just felt weird to me…
I’m going to sound like a jerk when I say…. I was disappointed to see an awesome statement diluted into a photo op. Which is silly, I know. I’m not sure what else I was expecting.
Plunk a pussy hat on her! Sure! It does make a cool photo!
let’s think this through
Part of what I love about public art is its interactive nature. Which was happening in spades. I was great to watch little girls pose with her.
Instead of worrying it was just a photo op to them, I’ll give their moms more credit. That this was a learning experience, a perfect place to tell a wonderful story:
Do you know why this girl is here? Because a giant U.S. fund manager called State Street wanted to send a message to powerful companies in the Financial District (that’s where we are now), that they need to put women in the top positions! So that when you grow up, a girl will have just as much of a chance to be the president of a company as boys do! President of the whole country, too.
Our Wall Street girl is hope. She’s a beacon of brightness amid the steady stream of alternative fact bullshit from our highest government officials.
She’s Girl Power rendered in bronze.
This was my experience on Wall Street today. These are my thoughts on the experience. Thought provoking art? That’s better than rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens any day of the week.
If you want to see this fearless girl yourself, get down to the last block of Broadway ASAP! Reports are conflicting whether she’ll be on display for a week or a month. State Street has said they’d love her to have a more permanent fixture, so let’s cross our fingers for that but don’t count on it! Go now, and for the full effect without massive crowds, go early in the morning!