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Bayview Correctional Facility is a medium-security women's prison located at the corner of West 20th Street and 11th Avenue in Manhattan, directly across the street from the Chelsea Piers sports complex. It is highly unusual to find a state penitentiary in the middle of a major city. Bayview consists only of one large building and does not have grounds and a fenced perimeter. Covering the entire south wall of Bayview is the "Venus", a mural painted by New York artist Knox Martin in 1970. Venus was commissioned by Doris Freedman of CityWalls (later the Public Art Fund). Today, Venus is almost entirely obscured by the neighboring building 100 Eleventh Avenue, completed in 2010.
Featured on the New York State Correction Officer Informational Page’s “History of Bayview” is the following statement:
In 1970, prior to the rejuvenation of the district, Bayview's entire south wall was decorated with a red and pink abstract painting, called "Venus" by artist Knox Martin. The mural, conspicuous for its size and beauty, has often been used on post cards. It is also conspicuous—in a culture that regards large, exposed surface as prime advertising space—for not being a billboard. Not surprisingly, advertisers call from time to time with proposals to lease the wall for commercial messages, but Bayview doesn't want its beautiful Venus covered over with a beer or jeans ad. Besides, it's state property.