Modern Ancient Brown logo by The Crimson Fox

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.


Binion combines collage, drawing, and painting to create autobiographical abstractions of painted minimalist patterns over an “under conscious” of personal documents and photographs. From photocopies of his birth certificate and pages from his address book to pictures from his childhood and found photographs of lynchings, the poignant and charged images that constitute the tiled base of his work are concealed and abstracted by grids of oil stick. The complexly layered works, from a distance, appear to be monochromatic minimalist abstractions however; Binion’s works are intensely personal and deeply dedicated to the rigorous process of making a painting. 

Upon closer inspection, these monochromatic abstractions come into focus: the perfect grid becomes a series of imperfect laboriously hand-drawn lines, behind which emerge intimate details of Binion’s identity and personal history. Having begun his career as a writer, Binion is highly influenced by language and music, as can be seen in his titles and the ways in which he layers information to be “read” rather than simply seen.

Binion received his BFA from Wayne State University, Detroit, MI in 1971 and his MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI in 1973. Binion’s works were featured prominently in the 57th Venice Biennale, VIVA ARTE VIVA, curated by Christine Macel.

His work is in numerous public and private collections, including the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, NY, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 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.



October 22 – December 18, 2020

Gray Warehouse / New York

September 10 - October 31, 2020

Gray Warehouse / Chicago

June 24, 2020

First Look | McArthur Binion Healing:Work

Lehmann Maupin / New York

October 1, 2019 - November 16, 2019

McArthur Binion White:Work

Massimodecarlo / London

June 20, 2019 - August 16, 2019

cart, horse, cart

Lehmann Maupin / New York

May 24, 2019 - July 13, 2019


Lehmann Maupin / Seoul

May 22, 2019 - July 5, 2019


Lehmann Maupin / Hong Kong

January 17, 2019 - May 2, 2019


Lehmann Maupin / New York

November 17, 2018 - March 10, 2018

Binion/Saarinen: A McArthur Binion Project

Cranbrook Art Museum / Bloomfield Hills

May 13, 2017 - November 26, 2017

Viva Arte Viva

57th Venice Biennale / Venice