NEW YORK (AP) — The 4-foot bronze Fearless Girl statue that was dropped in front of New York’s Charging Bull in 2017 will remain in its current location across from the New York Stock Exchange until at least the start of the New York Stock Exchange. next year as city officials wrestle with a permanent provision for the popular symbol of women’s empowerment, a city council decided on Monday.
Members of the Public Design Commission granted an 11-month license extension and said they would spend the next six months exploring a way for New York City to take ownership of the statue, which is currently the subject of of a dispute between artist Kristen Visbal and State Street. Global Advisors, the Boston-based asset management firm that commissioned it.
“We today, the Public Design Commission, cannot make this a permanent work of art,” said commission chair Signe Nielsen. “We can urge that steps be taken to allow this work to be considered for the public collection.”
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The brave girl statue was meant to be a temporary installation when State Street commissioned it in 2017 to urge greater representation of women on corporate boards, but permissions to keep it on display have been extended several times once it became a major tourist attraction.
Fearless Girl was moved to its current location across from the Stock Exchange in December 2018 and has continued to attract visitors there taking selfies.
Visbal, meanwhile, began selling replicas of the statue around the world. State Street, which had an ownership contract with the artist, sued Visbal alleging that the replica sales violated the agreement, and Visbal counter-sued, arguing that the company was infringing on his rights.
“The commission needs to know that State Street sued me, which prevents them from acting as fair agents on my behalf,” Visbal told members of the design commission on Zoom.
She urged the city to make the piece its own. “I believe the only way to honor and recognize artists’ rights is for the city to own the work,” she said.
Both Visbal and State Street have indicated their support for the council’s vote to renew the statue’s temporary permit while working toward a permanent solution.
“As the artist and creator of the ‘Fearless Girl’ statue, I am beyond grateful to the City of New York and the Public Design Commission for hearing my concerns,” Visbal said in a statement. “I am committed to working with the City to identify a fair and reasonable solution within six months.”
A State Street spokesperson said in a statement, “We appreciate that the Fearless Girl statue remains in its current location in front of the New York Stock Exchange. With the outcome of today’s hearing with the New York City Public Design Commission, we will be working with the Department of Transportation, PDC and the artist regarding our desire to keep the Fearless Girl statue at its current location for an extended period.