Dispute Between State Street and Artist Over “Fearless Girl” Raises Myriad Questions About Contracts, Trademark, and Challenges Inherent in Commissioned and Public Art
12/12/2019The statue, titled Fearless Girl, created a sensation when it was first unveiled on International Women’s Day in 2017 in New York City. It depicts a small girl standing defiantly, hands on hips; her placement at Bowling Green in lower Manhattan created the appearance that she was staring down the famous Wall Street charging bull statue. The city originally permitted the statue to be installed at Bowling Green for a month, but then allowed the statue to be moved to a longer-term location outside the New York Stock Exchange. State Street Global Advisors, a financial asset management company, says it commissioned and owns the statue, and has made her a prominent symbol of what State Street says is its ongoing commitment to ensuring gender diversity on corporate boards. But State Street is now embroiled in litigation with the artist who created the statue, Kristen Visbal. The legal questions involved in the case serve as a case study about the complex issues that can arise with commissioned and public art projects.
Art Law Blog