The sculptor has lived in New York for more than 40 years in New York. He arrived in 1973 and opened an art studio in the city’s SoHo district. With the help of a truck and a crane, Di Modica installed a bronze bull sculpture in New York’s financial district on the night of December 16, 1989, without approval.
The artist reportedly spent $ 350,000 of his money to create a 3.5-ton bronze beast that symbolized the resilience of the U.S. economy after the 1987 stock market crash.
“It was a period of crisis. The New York Stock Exchange lost more than 20% in one night, and so many people plunged into the blackest depression, ”the Roman daily La Repubblica di Modicu was quoted as saying in an interview earlier this month.
He said that he imagined the bull sculpture as “a joke, a provocation. Instead, it has become a damn serious thing, ”destined to be one of the most visited monuments in New York.
In an interview with La Repubblica, Di Modica explained in detail how he, about 40 friends, a crane and a truck carried out a lightning operation to erect a statue near Bowling Green Park, a short walk from New York Stock Exchange headquarters, without official approval.
“Five minutes. The operations shouldn’t have lasted longer. Otherwise we’d risk big ones,” he recalled. “After a few scout trips, I discovered that at night the police toured Wall Street every 7-8 minutes.”
When the sculptor and his friends arrived at the place he had chosen, they were surprised when they placed a Christmas tree there. Still they laid down a bronze bull and, as the artist said, uncorked a bottle of champagne.
Di Modica left Vittoria in Sicily at the age of 19 in Florence, where he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts.
At the time of his death, he was working on prototypes of a sculpture of the twins he planned to make for a Sicilian city. It was conceived as a 40-meter (132-meter-high) work to be erected on the river bank.
The city has declared Monday, when the funeral of Di Modice will be held in the church of St. John the Baptist in Vittoria, the official day of mourning.
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