A man attacked Wall Street’s “Charging Bull” statue with a makeshift metal banjo.
Arturo di Modica, Charging Bull, 1989, before Saturday’s vandalism. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress, via Wikimedia.
A banjo attack by a Dallas man has left Wall Street’s iconic bovine statue with a six-inch gash and multiple scratches at the base of its right horn. Witnesses said they saw the man, dressed in a baseball cap, T-shirt, and jeans, approach Charging Bull (1989) just after noon on Saturday with a makeshift metal banjo and strike the statue repeatedly, cursing U.S. President Donald Trump with every swing. Police arrested the man soon after and charged him with criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, and criminal possession of a weapon.
The 7,000-pound Charging Bull was first installed in December of 1989 outside the New York Stock Exchange by sculptor Arturo di Modica. He installed the piece illegally and meant for the work to inspire hope after the 1987 Black Monday stock market crash. Fernando Luis Alvarez manages a gallery that represents Di Modica and told the New York Times he estimated the cost of repairs to the statue ranged from $75,000 to $150,000, though Di Modica himself told the New York Post the repairs would cost between $10,000 to $15,000.
Di Modica told the Post:
The guy wanted publicity and he did it for publicity. [. . .] He knew he was going to be arrested and he knew he was going to be in the paper. It wasn’t something that he wanted to hit the bull.
This isn’t the first time the bull statue has been targeted. It has been splashed with blue paint twice before, in 2008 and 2017, and completely covered with crochet in 2010. Another intervention at the site, the addition of a statue of a diminutive and defiant little girl in 2017, gave the work new meaning—a reframing to which Di Modica strongly objected. (Fearless Girl was subsequently relocated to near the original site of Charging Bull, across from the Stock Exchange.)
The banjo wielder appeared in court on Sunday and was released without bail. He is due back in court October 16th, but the judge warned him to steer clear of other New York City landmarks and to not “go back and visit the bull,” according to artnet News.