McArthur Binion

Installation Views

b. 1946 Macon, Mississippi Lives and works in Chicago

McArthur Binion (b. 1946) has maintained an engaging and historic artistic practice that spans over forty years. Sourcing narratives of an African American experience in rural America and his presence in the white-dominated heyday of American Modernism in New York City, Binion has developed a unique style of action painting which places personal memory in dialogue with visual elements of Modernism. Taking wax crayon as his primary medium, Binion’s style performs an inten-tional physicality: crayon is first ground and then rubbed into wood and aluminum panels, a process that produces abstract subjects which are often mono- or duo-chromatic. In other projects, Binion juxtaposes crayon with surfaces made of repetitive Xerox imagery coated in multiple layers of ink.


Binion’s most recent series, including Seasons, Honey, and MAB: 1947, mark the most accomplished phase in his career to date, a distillation of conceptual and formal exploration over the course of his 40+ year career. Featuring densely packed grid sitting atop the collage materials, the new works recall both the “rural geometry” of his 1970s work and the complex patterning of his late-career phase.


His work is in the collections of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, NY, the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY, the Cranbrook Museum of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI, the Detroit Institute of Art in Detroit, MI, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Solo Exhibitions

2019 Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY (forthcoming)

2018 Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong (forthcoming)


Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI


Massimo De Carlo, Milan, Italy


DNA:Sepia, Massimo De Carlo, London, United Kingdom

2017 Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy


Route One: Box Two, Galerie Lelong & Co., New York, NY

2016 Seasons, Kavi Gupta CHICAGO Washington, Chicago, IL

2015 Re:Mine, Galerie Lelong, New York, NY

2014 DNA Study, Kavi Gupta CHICAGO Elizabeth, Chicago, IL

2013 Ghost:Rhythms, Kavi Gupta CHICAGO Washington, Chicago, IL

2012 Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, TX

2010 Color Exploration: Simplicity in the Art of McArthur Binion, Univeristy of Maryland University College Gallery, Adelphi, MD

2009 House : Work, Center Galleries at College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI

2008 Simplicism II: The Gouaches, Audible Gallery, Experimental Sound Studio, Chicago, IL

2005 Simplicism, G. R. N’Namdi Gallery, New York City


Simplicism, G. R. N’Namdi Gallery, Chicago, IL

2004 Simplicism, G. R. N’Namdi Gallery, Detroit, MI

2001 Modern : Ancient : Brown, Alley Culture, Detroit, MI

1998 Wayne State University Law School, Detroit, MI

1990 Laconic : Love : Letters; K.V.C., Fisher Theater, New Center One, Detroit, MI

1983 Small Walls Gallery, New York City

1980 The Juices: New Paintings, Anspacher Gallery, sponsored by Joseph Papp, New York


Shakespeare Festival, New York City
Drawings, Peg Alston Gallery, New York City

1975 Gallery Seven, Fisher Building, Detroit, MI

Group Exhibitions


DPAM Collects: Happy Little Trees and Other Recent Acquisitions, DePaul Art Museum, Chicago, IL


Something to Say: The McNay Presents 100 Years of African American Art, NcNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX


Picturing Mississippi, 1817-2017: Land of Plenty, Pain, and Promise,


Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS


Color People, Rental Gallery, East Hampton, NY


Paper, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, IL


VIVA ARTE VIVA, 57th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy


Dimensions of Black: a Collaboration with the San Diego African


American Museum of Fine Art, Museum of Contemporary San Diego, San Diego, CA


New at NOMA: Recent Acquisitions in Modern and Contemporary Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA

Chicago Invites Chicago, Galerie Lelong, New York, NY

Piece by Piece: Building a Collection, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO

Prospect.3: Notes for Now, curated by Franklin Sirmans, New Orleans, LA


Another Look at Detroit: Parts 1 and 2, curated by Todd Levin, Marianne Boesky and Marlborough Chelsea Galleries, New York, NY


Ice Fishing, Max Wigram Gallery, London, UK


When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination in the American South, Studio Museum, New York, NY


Above and Below the Surface: Eight Artists, Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA


Black and the Abstract, Part 2: Soft Curves/Hard Edges, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX

Outside the Lines, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, Houston, TX


Green Flower Street, Tatiana Kourochkina Galeria, Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey


Xstraction, The Hole, New York, NY

Well Put Together II, Thomas McCormick Gallery, Chicago, IL

25th Anniversary Group Exhibition, G. R. N’Namdi Gallery, New York City

Americas Remixed, Curated by M. Franklin Sirmans, Comune di Milano, Milan, Italy


No Greater Love, Abstraction, Jack Tilton/Anna Kustera Gallery, New York City


The Bones of Clouds: Some Recent Experiences of Chance, Curated by Glen Mannisto, Center Galleries, College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI


Paths, with Charles McGee, Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, Birmingham, MI

Art for Technology: A Reunion of Mural Artists, Martin Luther King Neighborhood Network, Detroit, MI

T-race, Curated by Kerry James Marshall and Jane Saks, Randolph Street Gallery, Chicago, IL

Drawing in Chicago Now, 11th Street Gallery, Chicago, IL and Carleton College, Northfield, MN

Drawings for Billboards, Focus Gallery, Detroit, MI

Hotel Imperator, Berlin, Germany


Poggibonsi Arte, Siena, Italy (catalog)

Poggibonsi Arte, Siena, Italy

Share the Memories, Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI

Affirmation of Life, Curated by Al Loving, Kenkeleba Gallery, New York City

The Regentrified Jungle, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY (catalog)


Wayne State University/NYC, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI


Modernist Trends, curated by James Little, 22 Wooster Gallery, New York City

Organized by Joe Lewis and Holly Solomon Gallery of New York, Mark Twain Bank, Kansas City, MO


Six Murals by Six Artists, commissioned by Gil and Lila Silverman Collection, Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center Gallery, Detroit, MI (catalog)


Cranbrook USA: A 50-Year Survery of Alumni (15 artists),


Cranbrook Museum of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI (catalog)

Condesco/Lawler Gallery (three person exhibition), New York City

Detroit and Chicago: Art of the 70s, Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI

Susan Caldwell Gallery, curated by David Navros, New York City

Jonathan Borofsky and Mary Obering, selected by Ronald Bladen, Artist Space, New York City

Michigan Biannual, Saginaw Museum of Art, Saginaw, MI





McArthur Binion — McArthur Binion Artist Talk at Cranbrook Academy of Art

McArthur Binion Artist Talk at Cranbrook Academy of Art

McArthur Binion — Conversation with McArthur Binion Moderated by Dennis Scholl | 2015 Summer Series | Featured Artists and Conversations

Conversation with McArthur Binion Moderated by Dennis Scholl at the Anderson Arts Center, 2015 Summer series.