The mysterious, and much loved street artist, Banksy paid a visit to 101 West 14th Street – announcing his presence on his Instagram account. Preservationists familiar with the building recognized it right away as the original home of the historic Julien Binford murals located at 101 West 14th Street. Banksy’s latest addition ~ a rat painted on the clock atop the entrance to the former bank building. But less than a week later, the building owners removed Banksy’s clock. It will be placed in storage ~ future as yet undetermined.
Below, read the history of the murals, and the great ‘save’ thanks to the efforts of Speaker Corey Johnson and Save Chelsea.
Update (November 5, 2018) As of this date, the historic murals remain in storage, still in search of a permanent home.
Update (February 28, 2018) Breaking News from Chelsea Now ~ Google NYC and Jamestown announced today that they will team up to help preserve the murals. According to Chelsea Now, efforts by Save Chelsea, a preservation group, and Speaker Corey Johnson “bore fruit”:
“The effort bore fruit: Jamestown said it recently bought the mural from the developer, Gemini Rosemont, for $50,000, Michael Phillips, president of Jamestown, told Chelsea Now in a phone interview.”
Now ~ to find a home for the mural, with the hope of keeping it in the neighborhood. Under consideration, the Senior Center at Hudson Guild. Two other locations are also being considered. Stay tuned for updates, and read the history of the Julien Binford mural below.
Julien Binford (1909-1997) was an American Painter, known for his paintings and murals of rural settings in Virginia, where he lived. In May of 1941, LIFE Magazine featured a four-page article on an art show at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts entitled The Eighth Exhibition of the Work of Virginia Artists in which Binford was one of 85 participating artists, whose average age was under 30.
Binford’s painting entitled “The Crap Shoot” was one of the paintings in The Eighth Exhibition that ran from April 12 to May 25, 1941. The Crap Shooter, (image below) originated when Artist Julien Binford was shooting rabbits near his home in Fine Creek Mills, Virginia. Pointing toward think bushes, his dog suddenly “flushed a corey of crapshooters who were evading the law. Their riches were spread on a blue linoleum mat.” Binford joined the crap game – lost, then decided to commemorate the disaster with this painting. His first one-man show was to be at a New York Midtown Gallery that following October.
Locating all of the murals painted by Binford has not been easy. In addition to his commissioned mural in the lobby of the Virginia State Library, and mural for Thomas Jefferson High School in Richmond, Virginia, it appears he painted at least two murals for two separate Greenwich Savings Bank buildings in New York City ~ seven panels in the banking room of the bank located at 3 West 57th Street, and 14th Street at Sixth Avenue. The murals at the 14th street location appear to still be intact. The building, a recently shuttered HSBC bank branch, was built in 1952, designed by Halsey, McCormack & Helmer. The website nysonglines states that the Binford murals at that location were painted in 1954, and can be seen from the street. What will become of the Binford murals, when new tenants occupy the space, is unknown, however we did learn from Chelsea Now this week that Council Member Corey Johnson’s office, and a developer are looking to preserve a piece of the mural.
The 14th Street Binford murals on this page can be found on Pinterest.
What 101 West 14th Street looks like today (below)
Below are updated photos taken on December 15, 2017. On December 13, we learned that Corey Johnson’s office, the community group Save Chelsea and Julien Binford’s family set out to preserve the 1954 mural. The result is that Gemini Rosemont, the building site’s developer, has successfully removed the mural from the walls and safely placed it in storage.
Read more on Corey Johnson’s Facebook page.