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McArthur Binion's first shows in Asia opens at Lehmann Maupin
McArthur Binion, ink:work, 2018. Ink, oil paint stick, and paper on board, 24 x 40 x 2 inches, 61 x 101.6 x 5.1 cm. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, and Seoul. Photo: Aron Gent.

HONG KONG.- Lehmann Maupin announced McArthur Binion’s first shows in Asia, opening simultaneously in both Hong Kong and Seoul. The Hong Kong presentation will be presented jointly with Massimo de Carlo, who will also host an exhibition of Binion’s work in their Hong Kong gallery. Spanning all three spaces, these joint exhibitions present an unprecedented opportunity to view new work by the 72-year-old American artist who has been garnering increasing international attention.

Over the course of his career, Binion has defied classification as an artist, beginning his highly distinctive, innovative, and self-referential practice at the prestigious Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1973. After graduation, Binion moved to New York City and found himself in the midst of a hotbed of artistic activity—socializing and working among artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Brice Marden, and Sol LeWitt. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, his style evolved from more gestural abstraction to include increasingly pared-down, colorful, and geometric abstraction. Binion’s earliest incorporation of found material dates to the 1980s, when he realized the potential for building an “under-conscious,” or layers of reference material, below his freehand painting. During the mid-1990s, Binion incorporated his first personal mementos into his work, and in the early 2000s he developed a unique amalgamation of these aesthetic elements, incorporating photocopies of pages from his personal address book, his birth certificate, and family photos beneath dense drawn or painted grids. These works made their international debut in 2017 at the Venice Biennale.

For Binion, personal documents represent the sum total of one’s social life: relationships, citizenship, vocation, and family. In his newest Hand:Work:II paintings, Binion’s insertion of his hand in repeated sequences of intricately layered mark-making reveals the time-consuming and laborious nature of his practice, illuminating the myriad of gestures and movements he condenses into a single painting. The bold color palette chosen for these works is also self-referential, and harks back to his earliest paintings of the 1980s when he developed his “under-conscious” approach. In these works Binion has recreated the brightly saturated hues of his earlier paintings in colorful ink washes poured and spread across the photocopied pages of his address books from that period. Through the incorporation of his hand as a self-generating subject, Binion pushes his work into new conceptual territory, expanding his repertoire to include performative self-portraiture. In recent years, Binion has emerged as an increasingly important artist of his generation, combining the post-minimal embrace of new, commercial grade materials (in Binion’s case, the oil stick), with a more personalized approach to the austere, formal devices of minimalism, realized through the incorporation of his personal history into these deceptively simple paintings.

McArthur Binion (b. 1946, Macon, MS; lives and works in Chicago) received his BFA from Wayne State University, Detroit, 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. Solo exhibitions of his work have been organized at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, (2012); and the University of Maryland University College Gallery, Adelphi, MD (2010). Recent group exhibitions featuring his work include Picturing Mississippi, 1817-2017: Land of Plenty, Pain, and Promise, Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS (2017); Dimensions of Black: a Collaboration with the San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego (2017); New at NOMA: Recent Acquisitions in Modern and Contemporary Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans (2017); Through the African American Lens, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C. (2017); Circa 1970, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2016); Prospect.3: Notes for Now, New Orleans (2014); When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination in the American South, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2014); and Black in the Abstract, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (2013). His work is in numerous public and private collections, including the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI; Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.; New Orleans Museum of Art; The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Wayne State University, Detroit; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

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