‘Fearless Girl’ Sculpture Takes a Stand on Wall Street
This bronze statue of a young girl was installed on March 8, International Women’s Day, immediately sparking debate and conversation globally. New York Mayor, Bill de Blasio, who has decided to extend the statue’s run, expressed in the New York Daily News, “The Fearless Girl has fuelled powerful conversations about women in leadership.”
The Fearless Girl, created by artist Kristen Visbal, touches upon female dynamism and women, symbolised through the young girl, standing up to the throes of capitalism. However, does this sculpture protest the gender pay gap or is it merely a ‘publicity stunt’ installed by large US corporations to attempt a ‘pro-women’ message?
Many hope that the young girl resists such marketisation and continues to support the feminist ideals which encourage “big businesses to have real conversation’s about women’s equality.”
Parker Bright Protests in Front of a Painting at Whitney’s Biennial
At New York’s Whitney Biennial, a young man, Parker Bright protested in front of a painting portraying a murdered black teenager,
Emmett Hill, by white American artist, Dan Schutz. The painting depicts the mutilated body of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old black boy who was murdered in 1955 after falsely accused of flirting with a white woman.
The painting has caused uproar. Last Friday, Parker Bright, stood in front of the painting to obstruct visitor’s views, while sporting a T-shirt that read “No lynch mob” on the front, and “Black death spectacle” on the back. Bright expressed that “Many in the black art community are upset by the work,” further stating that his active protest rooted from a desire to “confront people with a living, breathing black body.”
The Whitney Biennial has been criticised numerous times in the past for displaying what many consider racially insensitive artwork. Dan Schutz will not be putting his painting up for sale.
Let’s Talk About Arts Funding
The arts are facing serious budget cuts.
The federal executive branch of the US released a budget proposal on the 16th of March marking the National Endowments for the Arts (NEA) and Humanities (NEH) and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to be completely rejected for government subsidisation. Last year alone, these institutions contributed a total of $29.5 million to New York City.
New York City, second to the federal government, is the largest public funder of arts and culture in the US. There is a deeply intrinsic, sociocultural, and economic value in the arts. Tom Finkelpearl, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs claims that the department “has engaged in [its]first-ever cultural plan,” holding meetings and interacting with thousands of New Yorkers. NYC’s government is dedicated to keeping Americans’ creative juices flowing and the arts alive. Individuals of all walks of life must join to “fight for the restoration of these agencies.”