McArthur Binion American, b. 1964


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 intentional physicality: crayon is first ground and then rubbed into wood and aluminum panels, a process that produces abstract subjects which are often

mono or duochromatic. In other projects, Binion juxtaposes crayon with surfaces made of repetitive Xerox imagery coated inmultiple layers of ink.


This practice, adopted by Binion years before the popularity andaccessibility of photocopying, features images of him as a child and his mother in a crop field set alongside documents suchas his birth certificate and pages from his address book, a record (jotted with names such as Jean-Michael Basquiat andMary Boone) from his time in New York City’s ‘70s art scene. His historical contributions to Abstract Expressionist and Post-Minimalist movements have positioned him as a pioneerand as an influential figure within contemporary African-Americanart discourses. During the inaugural year of the infamous Artists Space, Carl Andre, Sol Lewitt and Ronald Bladen curatedBinion’s work into an exhibition. Additionally, Binion has been curated by and collaborated with artist David Hammons onseveral projects during the 70s.


Major recent solo exhibitions includeSeasonsat Kavi Gupta Chicago | Washington Blvd. (2016);Re:Mine, Galerie Lelong,New York (2015);DNA Studyat Kavi Gupta CHICAGO | Elizabeth (2014);Ghost:Rhythmsat Kavi Gupta CHICAGO |Washington Blvd. (2013); andPerspectives 177: McArthur Binion, Contemporary Art Museum, Houston (2012). Recent groupshows includeInvitational Exhibition of VisualArts, American Academy of Artsand Letters, New York (2016);Piece by Piece:Building a Collectionat the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City (2015);Prospect.3: Notes for Nowin NewOrleans;Another Look at Detroit: Parts 1 & 2at the Marlborough Chelsea and Marianne BoeskyGalleries, New York;IceFishingat the Max Wigram Gallery, London;Above and Below the Surface: Eight Artistsat the Berggruen Gallery, SanFrancisco;When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination in the American Southat the Studio Museum, New York;Black and theAbstract, Part 2: Soft Curves/Hard Edgesat the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; andOutside the Linesat theContemporary Arts Museum, Houston (2014). 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 Museumin Harlem, New York, NY,the Cranbrook Museum of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI, the Detroit Institute of Art in Detroit, MI, andthe Metropolitan Museum of Artin New York City.Binion’s work has been reviewed in such periodicals asArtforumInternational,Art in America, and theHuffington Post. He received his Bachelors of Art from Wayne State University, andlater became the first African American to graduatefrom the Cranbrook Academy of Art with a Master of Fine Arts. Binionlives and works in Chicago