Street Smart: The Wall Street Bull's Illegal Street Art Roots
During the Occupy Wall Street protests this morning, I noticed about six NYPD police officers in riot gear standing guard around the “Charging Bull” statue. What most people aren’t aware of is the fact that the bull statue was originally placed in the financial district illegally as a piece of street art.
The 7,100 pound bronze sculpture was originally created by the artist, Arturo Di Modica. Di Modica spent about $360,000 to build and install the bull after the 1987 stock market crash as a symbol of “strength, power and hope of the American people for the future.” It’s pretty ironic that sounds exactly like what the Occupy Wall Street movement stands for. The statue was installed in front of the New York Stock Exchange as a gift to New York on December 15, 1989. The very same afternoon, the NYPD towed away the statue and impounded it. This was followed immediately by a strong public outcry.
Within a few days, the city arranged for the Bull to be placed “temporarily” back at the north end of Bowling Green Park where it stands today. To this day, the “Charging Bull” is technically still a “temporary” installment since the city does not own the sculpture. The statue has been for sale by Di Modica since 2004 on the condition that the buyer does not move it from its current location.