McArthur Binion (b. 1946) is an American painter who lives and works in Chicago. Distinguished for his minimalist abstract paintings, Binion combines a mastery of elemental materials including crayon, oil stick, ink, and graphite with a highly personal narrative that lies at the foundation of his work. A grid of interlacing lines and repetitive strokes in oil stick form the top layer of Binion’s paintings, both obscuring and revealing the layer of personal markers underneath. The base layer of Binion’s compositions, which he describes as the “under-conscious,” is made up of ephemera from the artist’s life. Photocopies of his birth certificate and passport, newspaper clippings, excerpts from his address books, childhood photos, and images from his home state of Mississippi are among the visuals he uses to disseminate the intimate details of his identity, relationships, and history. Refusing categorization while relating to abstraction, minimalism, and monochromatic painting, McArthur Binion’s practice is rooted in an individual dedication to the process of painting.
McArthur Binion was born in Macon, Mississippi in 1946. Binion received his BFA from Wayne State University in 1971, and his MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1973. His work has been the subject of major solo and group exhibitions at institutions including the Museo Novecento, Florence, Italy (forthcoming); Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA (2019); Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA (2019); Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL (2018); McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX (2018); Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI (2018); Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MI (2017); Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA (2017); New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA (2017); National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, DC (2017); Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY (2016); Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX (2012).
Binion’s work can be found in numerous public and private collections including the Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at Rollins College, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Winter Park, FL; Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH; Art Bridges Foundation; Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI; Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; Joyner Giuffrida Collection; Kemper Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO; McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS; Mott-Warsh Collection, Flint, MI; National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, DC; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Strauss Family Foundation Collection, Rancho Santa Fe, CA; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH; Wayne State University, Detroit, MI; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.