Charging Bull Statue – Bowling Green – Manhattan, New York, New York

Charging Bull started off as an act of guerrilla art.  To pull a secret fete like this off, there had to be some major planning.

Weighing in at 7,100 lbs, it is 11 feet tall and 18 feet long.  Artist Arturo Di Modica worked on the piece for over two years at his studio in Soho. It was his most ambitious work of sculpture and so massive that the Bull had to be cast in separate bronze pieces and then welded together and hand finished.

Di Modica and his friends the night before the big drop scoped out the spot in front of the Stock Exchange where they were going to place the enormous statue.  They discovered the cops came by that spot every 5-6 minutes, which gave Di Modica approximately 4.5 minutes to set the bull and make a break for it.

On December 15, 1989, the night of the drop, they showed up bull in tow to find a 60-foot Christmas tree standing in front of the Stock Market.  So, they left it under the tree as a gift to all New Yorkers.

The next day Charging Bull was worldwide news.  Crowds of excited onlookers and media surrounded the sculpture that had come from out of nowhere. That very day, NYPD seized the mighty bull and had it put into an impound lot.  There was an outcry from the public and 6 days later with formal pomp and circumstance, the Department of Parks and Recreation had it moved 2 blocks to Bowling Green where it still to this day faces Whitehall and Broadway.

In a super tough description by Dianne Durante In Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan: A Historical Guide:

The Bull’s head is lowered, its nostrils flare, and its wickedly long, sharp horns are ready to gore; it’s an angry, dangerous beast. The muscular body twists to one side, and the tail is curved like a lash: the Bull is also energetic and in motion.

She also stated the bronze color and hard, metallic texture of the sculpture’s surface emphasizes the brute force of the creature. The work was designed and placed so that viewers could walk around it, which also suggests the creature’s own movement is unrestricted — a point reinforced by the twisting posture of the bull’s body, according to Durante.

Di Modica told the New York Daily News in 1998:

That bull is one of an edition of five. … I’m hoping the other four will be going to cities all over the world, whenever somebody buys them.

In 2010, a similar Charging Bull called the Bund Bull was installed in Shanghai.  In 2012, another one was placed on Het Beursplein in Amsterdam.

Broadway & Morris St, New York, NY 10004

40.705576°N 74.013421°W

Leave a Reply