Allan D'Arcangelo
Icarus 1990

Allan D'Arcangelo was an American artist and printmaker. His reputation as a Pop artist was established in 1963 with his series of paintings of American highways and signs, which pictured deep perspectival vistas in a simplified, flat plane, the view as seen from the driver’s seat as one zooms along the seemingly never-ending American highway in most any state.

Next came a series “Barriers”, in which cropped, abstracted imagery of road barriers were superimposed over the one-point perspectival highway vistas. These were a move further towards concern with abstract, two-dimensionality without negating the element culled from seen aspects of the American landscape. 

The series called “Constellations” (there are 120 in all) further abstracted the view of road barriers into perspectival, jutting patterns thrusting across the canvas against a white ground. The new pictures were rather scenic landscape vistas, simplified and showing his ongoing concern with jutting perspectival space, now inhabited by flatly painted images of highway overpasses, a jet wing, grain field, electric lines. Indications of the American industrial scene seem more related to the hand-painted, pristine look of Charles Sheeler than to the pop of, say, Roy Lichtenstein.

It has been said that D'Arcangelo "has the ability to defy, yet document, spatial relationships at the same time". Now, as before, the main element in D’Arcangelo’s pictures is the post-abstraction search for, as he put it, “icons that matter”, monumental archetypes of the contemporary American expansive landscape highway.  

D'Arcangelo taught throughout his career, most consistently at the School of Visual Arts and at Brooklyn College, where he was professor emeritus. He was the recipient of a 1987-88 Guggenheim Fellowship. D'Arcangelo has had frequent one-man shows, many of which traveled to prominent museums throughout America. He was included in international group exhibitions at institutions including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.; and the IX Bienal de Sao Paolo, Brazil.  His paintings are in the permanent collections of the Tate Gallery in London, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Denver Art Museum in Colorado, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, and many other public and private collections worldwide.