Mc Arthur Binion 001

Ink: Work

McArthur Binion

12.09.2018 | 15.12.2018
Massimo De Carlo, Milano

Massimo De Carlo is pleased to inaugurate the new season with the first solo exhibition in Italy by the American artist McArthur Binion, who returns to Italy after having taken part in the 2017 Venice Biennale.

American artist McArthur Binion was born in Mississippi in 1946 and is now based in Chicago. Throughout his fifty-year practice of assemblage painting, the artist has interwoven individual memories with historical recollection and his experience of America in the past, by layering paint and personal memorabilia onto large-scale canvases.

Ink:Work presents a new series of works made specifically for this exhibition, that revolve around the use of colour and ink, specifically secondary colours that the artist applies with paint stick. The works on show are a continuation of the artists’ DNA series, an exploration of the relationship between past and present. In each of these works the artist blends private documents, hand written pages of his old phone books (where names from the past such as ‘Mary Boone’ and ‘Basquiat’ evoke the 70s and 80s New York art scene) are covered with layers of painted coloured grids, that conceal and at the same time introduce the narration element of his practice. McArthur lived in NYC from 1973 until 1992, everything and everyone who revolved around his studio at the time is captured and framed in each painting.

The use of personal documents asserts the artist own existence and the layers of paint encompass the artist’s experience with authority and the art world in America. Talking about the series Binion stated that he was interested in “how to bring something into being: not to have it fabricated but to work in an applied way”.

The Artist

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McArthur Binion

McArthur Binion (b. 1946, Macon, Georgia) lives and works in Chicago, Illinois.

Since the 1970’s, he has sought an alternative to minimalist art, through his personal philosophy of the pictorial grids fused with his archival belongings, such as the pages of his phone books, personal family photographs, or found documents from the history of the Afro-American community. Binion’s reduced combination of colors and forms enclose not only formal mastery but also layers of meaning, beginning with his search for modernist abstract painting’s legacy in relation to a wider context, that of the need of human society to leave traces of itself and, at the same time, to project itself into the future.

McArthur Binion’s work is strongly political, although very subtle. In fact, curator Lowery Stokes Sims once described Binion’s DNA series as ‘notions of selfa wareness and self- discovery, a conscious reflection on himself and to the historical discourse he has contributed to’. McArthur Binion’s 40-year career has been a continual investigation of abstract painting. The artist distinctive insertion of narrative and personal history and his emphasis on content differentiates his work from a more traditional minimalist practice. Binion’s works have been prominently included in the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, VIVA ARTE VIVA, curated by Christine Macel.

Binion’s work is featured in several public and private collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, DC; Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills; Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Kemper Museum of Art, Kansas City; Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans; Strauss Family Collection, Santa Fe; Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo.

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