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McArthur Binion Heads to Lehmann Maupin

Binion at the Venice Biennale in 2017.


Hot on the heels of his star turn in “Viva Arte Viva,” the main show at the Venice Biennale last year, artist McArthur Binion has joined Lehmann Maupin, which will show his work at its Hong Kong space this fall and its forthcoming location at 501 West 24th Street in January.

“He’s going to go big, bold, badass—he’s excited for it,” Anna Stothart, a director at the gallery, said while discussing that high-profile Manhattan presentation. The gallery also plans to bring his work to Art Basel’s fairs in Hong Kong and Switzerland later this month and in June, respectively. “He’s really focused and committed to making work right now,” she said, “so we’re giving him spaces to show it.”

Binion, who is 72 this year and based in Chicago, has made his name with nuanced abstract paintings—grids and hatchings tenderly done by hand—that often incorporate biographical documents, such as copies of his birth certificate or pages from his address book. They are about how lives and identities are constructed through experiences, meetings, and memories. “He has found this really beautiful way to combine abstraction and this personal narrative, which is in turn political and social,” Stothart said.

His Venice Biennale appearance was the latest milestone in a career that has been steadily rising over the past decade, following museum exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston in 2012 and the University of Maryland Gallery in Adelphi in 2010. In 2013, he began working with Chicago heavyweight Kavi Gupta, where has had three solo shows, and the next year appeared in Prospect 3 in New Orleans. Before joining Lehmann, he had been represented by Galerie Lelong & Co., which presented his last two shows in New York.

Before the 2000s, Binion kept a relatively low profile on the international art circuit. He taught at the Columbia College in Chicago for almost a quarter-century, from 1992, when he moved to the city after years in New York, until 2015. Now the major shows are lined up one after another. Besides the upcoming exhibitions with Lehmann Maupin, Binion also has exhibitions on tap later this year with Massimo De Carlo in Milan and the Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

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