I first encountered the work of Allan D'Arcangelo twenty year» ago. when our gallery was located in Georgetown. Washington. O.C. At the time, our focus was on American modernism, and we wore just beginning to delve Into Abstract Expressionism and Pop art in a more serious way. Back then, we were offered a very interesting painting by D’Arcangelo, an artist with whom I had only a peripheral familiarity. Not feeling sure-footed enough, I passed on this painting, but for years I was haunted by the image and the regret that I didn't take a chance on it. Then, eighteen years later, mysteriously and magically, I was given a second chance. Out of nowhere, I was offered the painting again -this time from a European collector who had bought it those many years ago when I failed to act. That painting was Pegasus, the spectacular 1963 master-piece included in this exhibition (see pl. 3). This time I grabbed it immediately, and thus was born our gallery's interest and fascination with this elusive and forgotten painter. Renowned and respected In his own time, but later neglected, the time has come for the proper scholarship and exhibition of this extraordinary artist. D’Arcangelo is already known and avidly sought after by a small group of collectors around the world. Suddenly, now he is being rediscovered by a wider audience, and his due is finally at hand Pegasus, with the startling contrast of the flying horse juxtaposed against a mysterious and brooding nocturne highway, was the catalyst for this exhibition.
D'Arcangelo participated in many of the seminal exhibitions of his time and was highly regarded by fellow artists and critics. He taught at several respected institutions, and received important commissions. While many of his peers rose to fame with work that fixated on sex and celebrity, D’Arcangelo more subdued and formal meditations on the American landscape slowly faded from the public eye. Almost fifty years later, however, his canvases feel just as fresh and current as the day they left the studio.
Like his Pop art contemporaries, D’Arcangelo found inspiration In the everyday and In mass culture. The artist incorporated commercial packaging, popular personalities, and advertising logos into his compositions, but it was the American highway that particularly inspired him. This vast network of sprawling roads, iconic signs, and endless vistas defines a very particular moment in the American psyche, one which D'Arcangelo explores as if from the driver's seat. He transforms medians, barriers, and signs into compositional elements that reveal the formal possibilities of our own landscape.
For their professionalism in organizing this exhibition and catalogue, my thanks go to the gallery staff: Stacey Epstein. Ashley Park,. Debra Pesci, Samara Umschweis, and Daniel Weiner. Particular recognition goes to Martin Friedrichs, who was instrumental in bringing this project to fruition. His tireless research and outreach has enabled us to assemble this truly exceptional group of works. Eileen Costello's insightful essay delves into D'Arcangelo's work in a lucid and enlightening manner, and we are grateful for her penetrating scholarship. Our appreciation is extended to Robert Grosman at Mitchell-Innes & Nash for his collegial spirit, to Jessie Sentivan for her fine editing and research. as well as to Russell Hassll for this beautiful catalogue design. We also wish to extend special thanks to Sandra H. Olsen. Director of the UB Anderson Art Galleries, for providing access to the Allan D'Arcangelo Papers.
Photographic material and permissions were supplied by Clara M. Goldman of the Whitney Museum of American Art; Keshida Layone of Condé Nast; Shelley Leo and Evan Ryer of The Roy Lichtenstein ioundation Photography Archives; Kay Menick of Art Resource, New York; Alison Smith of VAGA, New York, and the staff of the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library at the New York Historical Society Museum & Library.
We believe that this exhibition and catalogue will add definitively to the scholarship on this artist and invite our audience to journey with us on the rediscovery of a most engaging and talented artist.
This catalogue has been published on the occasion of the exhibition "Beyond Pop; Allan D'Arcangelo, Works from the Sixties," organized by Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York, and presented May 1 to 31, 2014.
See catalog published on Apr 28, 2014 at: