• VagabondSpectre
    1.4k
    Remember the kerfuffle (here's the thread) about the wall street bull and the fearless girl statues? There's been a development!

    A pissing dog has been thrown into the mix...

    sketchy-dog-final-hed-2017-840x460.jpg

    Naturally some people are quite pissy about this... They're pissy because the pissing pug in their view changes and demeans the original intent of the fearless girl statue and creates what they say amounts to a misogynistic attack on women...

    Oh my...

    The pissing artist actually wanted to make a very simple point; he wanted to demonstrate the argument of the original bull artist (whose intent was to depict the strength of America) that by adding to the original artwork (the bull) it's entire meaning was altered and destroyed. Here's what the pug artist had to say about it:

    "This is corporate nonsense, it has nothing to do with feminism, and it is disrespect to the artist that made the bull. That bull had integrity.... I decided to build this dog and make it crappy to downgrade the statue, exactly how the girl is a downgrade on the bull.” — Alex Gardega

    There you have it. A war of guerilla art has begun, but is it just the sanctity of our sidewalks which are at stake?

    In my view, the artists themselves may have their moral world-views and capital/careers tied up in this dispute (I understand why they care about it so much) but since this dance of artistic subterfuge plays out on public property, in the end the people of NY are the ones with the final rights and say to step in and settle the dispute.

    If it were up to me, I would remove the fearless girl (mostly because it's aesthetically unappealing compared to the bull), I would relocate the pissing pug to the Goldman-Sachs building, and I would leave the bull alone, because it is indeed a magnificent work of art, regardless of it's meaning.

    I do also side heavily with the original bull artist and the pug artist in regards to the fact that the original meaning of art can be mutilated by post hoc additions (especially by the politically minded).

    Thoughts?
  • Bitter Crank
    7.6k
    ThoughtsVagabondSpectre

    I'd have made the dog bigger.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.4k
    That's what I said about the fearless girl! Should have been a cowgirl to scale with the bull! (and would have actually depicted female empowerment). But you know, corporations tend to be cheapskates.

    I guess that was part of the artists point though. The dog is a crappy downgrade to the girl as the girl is a crappy downgrade to the bull.
  • Janus
    7k
    Are there tiny bronze fleas on the dog? Or how about a huge, powerful bear to eat the dog and the girl and bite off the bull's testicles?
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.4k
    Morally speaking, whatever the public wants is what they should get.

    I'm still holding out for a lasso wielding heroine myself...

    What I find most interesting about this is that the artists are so hopped up about their own messages (as artists should be), and we look on as spectators of this conflict, but in the end, morally speaking, the final say is (or should be) directly up to the public.

    If the streets of NY are the property of those who live there, this dilemma could be analogous to two interior designers sabotaging the work one another are doing in your own home. As such the public has the right to dismiss either of them at will, or both.

    If I cannot get a lasso wielding heroine, then let's try for absurdism: modify all three statues into a star wars themed standoff.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.6k
    It's getting harder for artists to make art that is both original and doesn't offend too much to be tolerated. What's an artist to do? Art has spun around from hard core realism to abstract expressionism.

    They just go ahead and paint what they want in whatever style they want and let the paint chips fall where they may. Method is no longer an edge that can be sharpened. Everything has been done. So, what's left is social statement. Here's an example of Sam Durant's work:

    tumblr_oqxw64phdl1s4quuao1_540.jpg

    It is not an original work of art; it's just a slogan picked up from the Zeitgeist feed.

    Durant got himself in hot water at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis last week. He had built a sculpture that looked like a large gallows and referenced the hanging of 32 Dakota men in Minnesota in 1862 (among other hangings that included Saddam Hussein). There would have been more hanged in 1862, but Lincoln had pardoned some of the men).

    Once news got out that the sculpture would be featured in the renovated Sculpture Garden, Dakota people objected on the grounds that "this isn't Durant's story to tell." They weren't consulted, and they objected strenuously. The conclusion of the story is that the Gallows sculpture will be given to the Dakota community who will tear it down and burn it.

    tumblr_oqxxve4aum1ruh140o1_540.png
  • Janus
    7k


    It's not clear to me how any decision about the sculptures that properly reflected the "public will" in such a case would be practicable.

    Since the work is an act of guerilla art, then its creator would seem to have no really solid grounds for complaint about other responding works invading its original space. If the original work had been commissioned it would be a different story.

    I wonder if these are replicas licensed by the artist, or if he receives any income from their sale:
    https://www.amazon.com/Charging-Stock-Market-Bull-Statue/dp/B004RB8E4C
  • Bitter Crank
    7.6k
    If the streets of NY are the property of those who live there... As such the public has the right to dismiss either of them at will, or both.VagabondSpectre

    More likely the streets of NY are the property of the City of New York.
  • Terrapin Station
    8.5k
    I don't dislike the girl statue aesthetically, but yeah, given the significance of the bull statue, it was kind of an ignorant addition, and I agree with the point the dog sculptor was making. I'd put the statue of the girl somewhere else--near the end of Battery Park, or maybe near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, facing the immensity of Manhattan, would be a good idea--have her ready to take on the whole city instead.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.4k
    "Outrage" holds an unfortunate amount of sway in the digital era... Bad press can destroy a person or entity if viral digital exposure leads to witch-hunts of extreme scale...

    The people of Dakota might have an argument if their tax dollars or their elected officials fund or are responsible for maintaining the Walker Art Center. If it's a privately owned and operated institute, they can protest all they like but they've no right to thought police the private artwork of others that exists on private property (pretty much regardless of content).

    Even if it's the city that owns the property in question (such as in the case of the bull/girl), whichever group of elected officials (who represent the residents) would be the one's with the legal rights to make a decision.

    As far as "the artist has no right to depict the story" (recall the Emmet Till art controversy), I really don't buy it. I think it's misplaced sensitivity and predicated on somehow extending ownership rights of something to an entire culture or ethnicity.

    A good recent example of this was the pita/taco stand (kooks burritos) that got shut down when the white entrepreneurs who ran it were accused of cultural appropriation and stealing the recipes of people of color. They went to Mexico to learn how to make some delicious pita bread that they had eaten while previously on vacation there, and after having returned successfully opened a stand, only to later shut it down after being battered by waves of hatred claiming that they were monstrous thieves.

    Outrage holds an unfortunate amount of sway in the digital era...
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.4k
    It has to be left to public representatives to interpret the public will in the case of guerilla art (and suffer the repercussions if/when they get it wrong and either way).
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.4k
    That's not a bad idea. Maybe she could greet people arriving to the statue of liberty? (a strong daughter raised under the protection of freedom?)

    Compared to the bull the fearless girl is insignificant as an art installment though, so to me it matters less. Send her to the Korean demilitarized zone to mock Kim for all I care :)
  • Bitter Crank
    7.6k
    Outrage holds an unfortunate amount of sway in the digital era...VagabondSpectre

    That's right, and people routinely move from slight annoyance to outrage in a half-step. Outrage is just rhetorically more useful. I don't think that anybody owns history. Whatever we are -- holocaust survivors, Native Americans, gay men, blacks, whites, Norwegian autoworkers, Turkish farmers -- we don't own the history we are involved in.

    There are many thousands of unique groups with particular historical experiences and no group holds a patent on itself, or its own history. We can elect our biographers if we want, but if someone else also wants to tell our story, there is nothing we can or should do to stop them from telling it. Once told, if we don't like it we have legal recourse. We can also write it ourselves.
  • Mongrel
    3k
    It's public art, so it should reflect the contemporary story. Post 2008-2009, the Bull is a symbol of something dangerous not only to the US, but to the global economy. It's not American strength (in this art viewer's eyes), but the force behind a speculative bubble whose popping ends up hurting the people at the bottom. The girl represents the spirit of youngsters who want regulations to be put in place.

    What's the pug doing? I don't know.. I can't really fit that into the story. Put a blond wig on it.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k
    So is dog pissing on femininity, capitalism, perhaps it was just peeing on corporate femininity, or is it just codswallop. It was made of paper mache or something like that and It's was removed by the artist several hours after placement.

    Most people apparently did not like the dog, unlike the girl, which the city liked well enough to give license to stay where it's at at least until February next year.

    It was codswallop.
  • jamalrob
    1.9k
    It's public art, so it should reflect the contemporary story.Mongrel

    Why should public art "reflect the contemporary story"? I take that to mean: repeat platitudes.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.6k
    It's public art, so it should reflect the contemporary story.Mongrel

    I don't see why the "publicness" of an art work should reflect "this", rather than "that" kind of story. The public has many points of view, and if the art work is made of durable stuff, the public might have quite different opinions over time.

    Post 2008-2009, the Bull is a symbol of something dangerous not only to the US, but to the global economy. It's not American strength (in this art viewer's eyes), but the force behind a speculative bubble whose popping ends up hurting the people at the bottom. The girl represents the spirit of youngsters who want regulations to be put in place.Mongrel

    Bulls aren't about bubbles, they are about confidence in the future. Besides, the 2007 debacle was not a typical bubble, anyway. The Tech Bubble that burst in the last part of the 20th century didn't run any risk of freezing up economic activity. The collapse in 1929 was a more typical bubble -- built on gross over-extension of credit in stock speculation. Wasn't the major problem of 2007 the presence of so much rubbish in the system--the bogus mortgages, the dubious credit default swaps, etc? Banks were leery of lending for fear their borrower (other banks, corporations, etc.) had taken on too much of this garbage and would default.

    The Bull more accurately represents the confidence that "the rising tide will lift all yachts". Of course, one has to have a yacht to start with.
  • Mongrel
    3k
    Why should public art "reflect the contemporary story"? I take that to mean: repeat platitudes.jamalrob

    The contemporary story is unique. It's who we are. You pick up the thread of a communal story by starting with your own experiences, right?
  • Mongrel
    3k
    So what does it mean to you?
  • jamalrob
    1.9k
    The contemporary story is unique. It's who we are. You pick up the thread of a communal story by starting with your own experiences, right?Mongrel

    But why should the public artist pay any attention to that? Granted, if we lived in Stalin's Russia this would be a more difficult debate, but I'm wondering why you think--if indeed this is what you think, which I'm not sure about--that artists should not present challenging, difficult or bizarre work in the public space. If an artist is expected to service an ideology--and I think that's what your criticism amounts to, i.e., that it's not doing so--then in what way can it be free and independent, as we would surely want it to be?
  • Bitter Crank
    7.6k
    I thought that placing the girl figure in front of the bull figure was impertinent. On its own, the girl figure has much less aesthetic and symbolic value than the bull figure. The girl figure was enhanced merely because of the juxtaposition, and the bull was devalued for the same reason.

    The bull is an old symbol of a confident up-market. It isn't about male-female interaction or women's progress in Corporate America. (The opposite symbol of a bull market isn't a cow market, it's an equally powerful bear market.) If the artist wished to affirm that womanhood in the corporate suites is powerful, then the girl figure would have best been placed facing a doorway into a corporate palace--of which New York City has a few thousand.

    The leg-lifting-dog, which I would have made larger and more anatomically articulated, does to the girl what the girl does to the bull: It gets something for nothing.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.6k
    Sponsored, paid for, contracted, commissioned... art should meet the requirements of the sponsor, if the artist wants more work in the future. Work that is created without a sponsor, but which the artist would like to be well received, should certainly touch the interests of the public that will be looking at it.

    But... if an artist wants to make art that is irrelevant to the public, (let's say a depiction of Poseidon and earthquakes) more power to him, but the public might not know what the statue is about. Poseidon doesn't figure very large in the public imagination, these days.
  • Mongrel
    3k
    If you notice, I gave my own interpretation of the scene without any regard to what the artists in question intended.

    If you and I were in China circa 1500AD, we would understand symbolism in art in a very rigid way. A certain arrangement of bird and bamboo means something specific. The deep coolness of this approach is that a garden can be read like a poem. That mound is near that body of water for a very specific reason. Those five pine trees mean something in particular. The poem changes with the seasons.

    That's not my world. Western artists are drawn to ambiguity. A muddy work boot becomes a work of art simply because we put it a glass case over it and put it in a museum. The cloud of memory and feeling I get lost in while staring at that boot is probably different from the cloud that you find. There is somebody who's terrorized by that boot. Another is overcome with grief. Me.. I'm standing in sunlight the year the 17 year cicadas came out and roared.

    A bull being stared down by a child on freakin' Wall St is begging for an outpouring of frustration and disappointment. I just insisted that it should reference that communal story as a preface to my take on it.

    What's yours?
  • Mongrel
    3k
    I thought that placing the girl figure in front of the bull figure was impertinent. On its own, the girl figure has much less aesthetic and symbolic value than the bull figure. The girl figure was enhanced merely because of the juxtaposition, and the bull was devalued for the same reason.Bitter Crank

    Impertinent. I'm biting my tongue. Let's just say that in the time I've known you I've discovered your wealth of contradiction.

    The bull is an old symbol of a confident up-market. It isn't about male-female interaction or women's progress in Corporate America. (The opposite symbol of a bull market isn't a cow market, it's an equally powerful bear market.) If the artist wished to affirm that womanhood in the corporate suites is powerful, then the girl figure would have best been placed facing a doorway into a corporate palace--of which New York City has a few thousand.Bitter Crank

    I discard to gender issue surrounding it. It just doesn't mean much to me.
  • Mongrel
    3k
    Poseidon doesn't figure very large in the public imagination, these days.Bitter Crank

    Where is he? I'll find a heart breaking story to pin on him.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    Poseidon/Neptune was virtually banned from Facebook earlier this year.

    Facebook blocked a photo of a 16th-century statue of Neptune that stands in Bologna’s Piazza del Nettuno for being “sexually explicit” and revealing the human anatomy “to an excessive degree.”

    They apologized latter. He still struts his stuff around virtually, upsetting modern tech's literal streak.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.6k
    I've discovered your wealth of contradiction.Mongrel

    I contain multitudes and it seems to be getting worse.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.6k
    Impertinent. I'm biting my tongue.Mongrel

    Just to be clear, it was the decision of whoever put the statue there that was impertinent -- or rude. Isn't that what the dispute in NYC is about? Was it rude or clever to add the girl statue to the platform on which the bull rested?
  • Mongrel
    3k
    Well, there you have it.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.6k
    Poor Poseidon lost his grand regalia
    Naughty Neptune ain't showin' genitalia.

    tumblr_oqydk7IAHY1s4quuao1_540.png
  • Mongrel
    3k
    Just to be clear, it was the decision of whoever put the statue there that was impertinent -- or rude. Isn't that what the dispute in NYC is about? Was it rude or clever to add the girl statue to the platform on which the bull rested?Bitter Crank

    Look at the scenario where it was impertinent. What does that imply about the status of the bull? It makes him kind of shrine like.

    The bull is the fun half of a cycle. The other half is bearish. In capitalism, business cycles are allowed to swing with a pretty generous amplitude. Didn't Marx warn that this would eventually be the death of capitalism? That the bear which inevitably follows the bull would finally turn into Godzilla?
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.