Muhammad Ali and Howard Bingham at Govinda Gallery’s 20th Anniversary Exhibition: Round 2

by Chris Murray on June 15, 2016

img001-600x441Muhammad Ali greeting David Murray with Govinda Gallery director Chris Murray looking on. © Govinda Gallery Archive

When Howard Bingham told me a couple of weeks before the start of his exhibition at Govinda Gallery that Ali was going to attend the opening and sign books with him, I could hardly believe it. I said to Howard, somewhat in shock, “You mean Muhammad is coming??” Bingham replied, ” Yeah, he is coming.” Bingham floored me with that great news.

When Ali pulled up in front of Govinda Gallery on 34th Street in Georgetown in a DC Yellow Cab the crowd outside was in awe of the champ’s arrival. He emerged from the taxi with a big smile on his face and the crowd parted with wonder in their eyes as he entered the gallery. He joined Howard Bingham at the table set up for signing Bingham’s new book. However before they started signing Ali performed some magic for the six Govinda Girls working at the gallery that evening on September 21, 1995. Everyone was loving Muhammad!

aliAli creating magic for the Govinda Girls with Howard Bingham ready to start signing his book. © Govinda Gallery Archive

Ali and Bingham signed everything for everyone, and the champ once again knocked everyone out with his magnanimous personality. Howard Bingham’s exhibition was a huge success. When he sent the nearly 30 prints that clients had ordered during the exhibition they all arrived with Ali’s signature on them as well as photographer Bingham’s signature.

There have been many magical moments at Govinda Gallery, but that day with Ali and Howard Bingham was the ‘greatest of all time’ at Govinda.

Carlotta-and-Ali-1-600x399Govinda Gallery artist Carlotta Hester meeting Muhammad Ali © Chester Simpson/Govinda Gallery Archive

Carlotta-and-Ali-2-600x403Carlotta Hester kissing Muhammad Ali © Chester Simpson/Govinda Gallery Archive

Carlotta-and-Ali-3-600x401Muhammad Ali fainting after receiving Carlotta Hester’s kiss © Chester Simpson/Govinda Gallery Archive

aliChris Murray assisting with Ali’s coat as he prepares to leave Govinda Gallery and Howard Bingham’s opening reception. © Govinda Gallery Archive

IMG_6226Full page advertisement in The Washington Review, signed by Muhammad Ali and Howard Bingham.

This post from The Back Room is dedicated to Damon Bingham, Howard Bingham’s son.

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