Allan D'Arcangelo: Pi in the Sky

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Allan D’Arcangelo Pi in the Sky

nallA  olegnacrA’D iP ykS eht ni

Allan D’Arcangelo’s Art of Disquiet Barry Schwabsky

Sometimes I wish the phrase ‘Pop art’ had never been invented. Every naming of an artistic group or tendency has the potential to mislead, of course, but Pop art more than most. When Lawrence Alloway first coined the term in the fifties, it was shorthand for ‘mass popular art,’ that is to say, commercial rather than fine art — what Clement Greenberg called ‘kitsch’ and T W Adorno spoke of as the products of the ‘culture industry.’ Only in the sixties did it become common to apply the term ‘Pop art’ to painting and sculpture that took mass commercial art as a subject as well as a source of both imagery and style. The names of earlier movements could be misleading if taken too literally — what exactly the work of the Impressionists had to do with ‘impressions’ and whether there was anything particularly expressionistic about Abstract Expressionism remain open to question — but that these were groups whose adherents were in dialogue and, at least for a time, had certain goals in common, is not in doubt. At least in New York, those who in the sixties were dubbed Pop artists arrived at their Pop styles independently, and were grouped together after the fact by dealers and critics. In an interview with Marco Livingstone in 1988, Allan D’Arcangelo was very clear on the idea that while in earlier movements, ‘people were really talking to each other and hammering out ideas, coming up with manifestos… that didn’t happen with Pop art, at least in my experience. Tom [Wesselmann] and I have known each other for twenty years, twenty-five years, and I don’t think we’ve ever talked about art. Jimmy Rosenquist and I made a trip halfway across the country together and went to Los Angeles together and saw Watts Towers together. We didn’t talk about art.’ Yet he conceded that there was good reason to group their work together thanks to their shared subject matter. Still, when asked by Livingstone about his ‘place within the early history of Pop,’ D’Arcangelo confessed that he had ‘always felt like a peripheral figure, as if I was somehow being used to flesh out what appeared to be larger reputations.’ He resented the way the ‘Pop’ label seemed to imply, as he recalled it, something that could be framed

as ‘a relief from the seriousness of Abstract Expressionism,’ something that made art fun, entertaining. That was what put him at an unfortunate distance, made his work seem somehow less Pop than Pop should be — because, he said, ‘I thought I was being deadly serious about this.’ A look back at D’Arcangelo’s work of the early to mid-sixties shows clear but inconsistent affinities to some of the other artists whose work was being called Pop — not so much to Rosenquist or Andy Warhol but to Wesselmann, Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein, and John Wesley, among others. But by the end of that decade, D’Arcangelo’s art, while staying rooted in the imagery of everyday life, in a world saturated by what Alloway had called ‘mass popular art,’ and while maintaining the workmanlike, non-committal paint-handling that allowed his work to evoke that of anonymous sign painters and graphic designers, jettisoned the human figure and became more austere and even sombre, at times almost abstract, and mostly pretty far from what one expects of anything labelled ‘Pop.’ When writers look for historical models for D’Arcangelo’s style, they sometimes look to the American Precisionists of the twenties and thirties — Charles Sheeler, Ralston Crawford and the like — usually with the proviso that D’Arcangelo’s image of the American landscape is darker, less optimistic. That’s true enough, though while their pictorial idiom was rooted in a kind of simplified cubism that suavely mediated between volume and surface, D’Arcangelo’s even tauter, blunter style tended to play up the contradiction between the schematic depth proffered by single-point perspective and the absolute flatness of a surface without sfumato or shading. But an even more apposite comparison than to the Precisionists was drawn by David Antin in an essay published in 1966; it would become even more apropos in the years to come. Antin understood that D’Arcangelo’s ‘radical simplification’ is not only a meditation on the American scene but has a philosophical cast: ‘it explores the nature of image itself.’ More specifically, he was an explorer of ‘the doubtful but still identifiable image’ and in this regard an artist in the lineage of Giorgio de Chirico and René Magritte. The relation to Magritte is clear enough in the earliest of the works here, Untitled (Landscape), 1967 (cat. no. 2). In it are two large, dominant elements in contradiction. One is a black arrow bent to

the right against a blue ground — a right turn indication. This could be a road sign or a glyph on a map; there is no sufficient context to specify the image’s source or scale. Formally, its ninety-degree angle accords with the painting’s rectangular support and its pointing rightward agrees with the usual way of reading a sentence or a picture. Crossing this right-angled arrow diagonally from upper left to lower right (and covering the right angle itself, which the viewer simply infers) is the image of a red-and-white striped traffic barrier, rendered in perspective. Pictorially it is not just the representation of a barrier; it really is one, blocking the space of the painting. And yet, as a representation, its positioning makes no sense: signs that negate things (no entry, no parking) use such diagonals but their bars are not in perspective; and a real guard rail, a painted plank such as this seems to be, would not be seen at this forty-five-degree angle. And then there’s one more detail: the angled arrow has a little double, which (given D’Arcangelo’s use of perspective) one might have read as being at some great distance — only this small arrow makes its angle in front of the diagonal barrier rather than behind it like its big brother, implying that it should be in the foreground, not at a distance. In Untitled (Landscape), nothing makes sense, but everything fits together. Why? I suspect it’s the way the painting registers time. There’s a sense of bluntness and immediacy that makes you feel that everything has registered all at once, and then a detail sends you back to revise what you thought you were seeing. A double take is built into the painting, and the point of it is not to arrive at a resolution but to make you feel the way time undoes your certainties. Looking at some of D’Arcangelo’s subsequent works, uncertainty rather than perceptual confidence is the starting point: I can’t say what I am looking at. The paired forms in Mr & Mrs Moby Dick, 1974 (cat. no. 5) — well, I can get as far as naming the forms, so I’m sure I see something, but the forms of what? I’m flummoxed. Maybe some sort of massive industrial containers. Or (as the title, not to mention the image’s deep blue surround, might imply) parts of ships? In any case, the twin structures, one white, one orange, are shown under a raking light; this is really a painting about light and shadow above all. But while the shadows are convincing, they don’t quite make sense. That is, they are not necessarily contradictory, but they are hard to read, in part because the insistent flatness of the treatment of the image is hard to reconcile with its construction in perspective.

As Antin already recognised in 1966, and as becomes even clearer in this work from eight years later, D’Arcangelo’s method is that he ‘builds up discrepancies.’ The discrepancies are not there to undermine the construction of the painting — rather, you might say, it is constructed precisely out of those discrepancies. The immediate impact of this work’s monumental forms is given time to deepen its effect by the way these secondary ambiguities unobtrusively beguile the eye and mind; thanks to them, the work’s blunt, almost brutal first impression is transmuted into an inquisitive slow burn. Once seen, the painting is hard to forget. Antin warned, ‘The entirely schematic quality of the image presented has misled some into assuming that D’Arcangelo’s interests are entirely abstract.’ My essentially formal take on his work might make me seem like one of the misled. Not at all. Especially early on, D’Arcangelo’s work incorporated social and political commentary, and he always considered his work’s form a vehicle for something else — ‘to support the imagery and the content of the imagery,’ as he told Livingstone. But what that content is becomes more difficult to name as his work matures, and as it becomes more difficult to name it becomes more powerful. Antin was right to see that D’Arcangelo would have thought it an evasion to define this unnamable content as a formal or abstract consideration. His art is not just talking about art. In Untitled (Landscape) the painting’s affect has a clear relation to ideas of danger (the guard rail) and negation; in Mr & Mrs Moby Dick the situation is less evident. And yet these close, looming volumes contain something unknown and unknowable. Or are they volumes after all, rather than just vast, fortified surfaces containing nothing? That uncertainty lends them an air of disquiet.

Allan D’Arcangelo Paintings

Rear-view Mirror Allan D’Arcangelo interviewed by Marco Livingstone

This conversation took place on 23 March 1988. It began on the road, while driving on a highway from New York City to the artist’s home at Kenoza Lake, New York, and was completed the same day in the artist’s studio. ML: How do you see your place within the early history of Pop? AD: For myself, personally, I always felt like a peripheral figure, as if I was somehow being used to flesh out what appeared to be larger reputations: artists like Lichtenstein and Warhol. I would be included in group shows but I always felt... peripheral isn’t the right word: tangential. For myself it definitely was the use of that imagery in terms of social or political description. I saw it that these were our icons, and I was working with them in that flat way thinking more of the Middle Ages, the art of the Middle Ages: emblematic and hierarchical kind of imagery. And no one was talking or saying anything about this at all. Even someone like Rosenquist. His work also had a great deal of social commentary in it. No one was mentioning this. The idea was at the time that this was a relief from the seriousness of Abstract Expressionism, of the mysticism of Abstract Expressionism. This was all fun and games. That was not only the popular attitude, it was in a way presented by writers and by the galleries. It was a thing where I always felt a little out of place, because I thought I was being deadly serious about this.

ML: This was in the very early 1960s? AD: Yes, right.

ML: But did you feel that there was a political dimension to your late 1960s work, to the road images? AD: The road images a little, yes.

ML: In what sense?

1. Untitled 1967

2. Untitled (Landscape) 1967

3. Cave 1974

AD: There, in a broader sense. It had to do with our relationship to nature. Like with this activity that we’re involved with now, driving along this road, we see nature as part of the backdrop of the activity. It’s not anything we participate in, we just go by and go through, going from place to place. Hence in those paintings there’s no inflection in the surface. The sky, treeline and pavement all have the same quality, and it has to do with our separation from the natural world. So that’s not specifically political, I suppose more philosophical.

ML: Did it seem to you at the time like a specifically American experience? AD: […] I didn’t think of it particularly as American except in that sense: this was my experience, let’s say, the experience of the landscape. This is how we experience landscape. What was curious about it was that it had a resonance all over the world. People nodded and said, yes, they know that experience. […]

ML: There’s a sense in which they are all representations of nowhere, in a way. AD: Yeah. I think Dore [Ashton] said that, too. She quoted Gertrude Stein, when she went to Los Angeles for the first time. Her comment was ‘There is no there there.’ She used that quote as reference for the work. It was just describing that kind of experience, and without the usual paraphernalia of painting, eliminating brushwork and modulated colour. It was just really simple and turning it into an icon. What I felt on reflection afterwards is that in some curious way what happened there is that describing the experience in that way changed the landscape into a symbol, rather than to a kind of description. Single, one-point perspective. People would argue that I wasn’t a Pop artist because the work wasn’t flat, because it dealt with onepoint perspective. But when you deal with one-point perspective, it’s both flat and illusionistic at the same time. And the illusion that happens is an intellectual one. I certainly didn’t paint it that way. There’s no misty background or change in light. Everything has the same intensity right across. And that’s an aspect of my work that I’ve dealt with a lot in other ways, working with both illusionism and flatness at the same time. […]

ML: When you started the highway paintings, how aware were you of the use of similar imagery by photographers? […]

4. Hypostasis 1974

5. Mr & Mrs Moby Dick 1974

AD: I wasn’t aware of it at the time. I took my young son to see The Grapes of Wrath. I had seen the movie when I was young, but I was stunned to see the opening shot, which was a dirt road in Kansas or Oklahoma and just showing this endless strip of road with telephone poles. A totally bleak landscape, flat horizon and a blank sky, very unmodulated. We were sitting next to each other and both of us simultaneously gave a nudge to the other with our elbows. I didn’t have a memory of this scene, but it must have stuck. […] For me it also came from memories. If I started to think about landscape and my experiences as a child, it seemed that the most profound experiences of landscape were looking through the windshield.

ML: What about the mythology of the road generally? Kerouac, or even television series like Route 66. AD: I did a painting of Route 66, too. All it was was just a black painting with a white highway sign in it that said ‘66’. Because at one time, before you had this whole interstate highway system, that was how you got from the East coast to the West coast, the road everyone travelled. It wasn’t the same thing as Kerouac. Kerouac was seeing that as the last means in which individuals could liberate themselves, could separate themselves from their origins and go and seek a different place. That mythology of travelling and coming upon new things, or what appear to be new things, that wasn’t part of my work. I was seeing it as being more restrictive, a very commonplace activity. That’s our real experience of landscape, of nature, not some romantic painting of a glen. […]

ML: You had already started painting before you went to Mexico, before you had any official training? AD: Yes, right.

ML: So how did you teach yourself? AD: I just started working, and that’s when I made a connection [in New York] with a painter called Boris Lurie, who was affiliated with one of the galleries on 10th Street. There was a pretty strong influence from him, when I started working. He said, ‘Why don’t you come over to the studio,’ you know, and work there, work with him. […]

6. Numinosum 1974

7. Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird 1974

ML: What contemporary art were you aware of at the time? AD: Of contemporary art, Abstract Expressionism. John [Golding, painter and art historian, then in his late twenties, who taught D’Arcangelo] conducted a seminar about it. We had a great deal of discussion about archetypes and mysticism in Abstract Expressionism. I did have a pretty good knowledge of art history, because I was trained at the university as a historian. […] AD: […] In fact, I remember being asked about the American Pop art scene as a kind of group activity, like let’s say the CoBrA movement or the Fauves, where people were really talking to each other and hammering out ideas, coming up with manifestos. That didn’t happen. It happened with the Abstract Expressionists, The Club, which was a forum where they would meet once a week and whoever wanted to could talk. Harold Rosenberg was involved with that, Greenberg too and the painters themselves, and they would just discuss ideas. They were hammering out the philosophical basis of what they were doing. But that didn’t happen with Pop art, at least in my experience. Tom [Wesselmann] and I have known each other for twenty years, twenty-five years, and I don’t think we’ve ever talked about art. Jimmy Rosenquist and I made a trip halfway across the country together and went to Los Angeles and saw Watts Towers together. We didn’t talk about art.

ML: Why do you think that is? AD: I felt there was no response, so [I should] drop whatever I was feeling, because it was a social situation. Everybody seemed to be more independent. And the fact that a group was made out of it — and I think rightly so, because the work has a lot of similarities, just even in terms of where it is drawing its subject matter from —  and I just can’t accept that it was [just because of] formal considerations. [The figurative painter] Philip Pearlstein is also like this. Do you know his work? Philip talks about his work only on a formal level. That the reason he will cut off a head or put a figure in an awkward position, in terms of traditional figure painting, is all for formal reasons. Well, I look at those paintings, that’s not what I see. […]

ML: Wesselmann was saying to me that critics had a field day with Pop art because they could write about all the imagery, and that’s not what it was about. He thought that was just a literary approach,

8. Landscape 1976–77

9. Rail & Bridge 1977

10. Pi in the Sky 1981–82

and it was unvisual and that they didn’t understand what the artists were doing. It’s true that Pop art got an awful lot of press because people found it easier to write about that sort of thing. AD: And also because the public found it easier to understand, in a way. They could look at it and immediately recognise it. That’s what I said. Part of that was a whole reactive process to Abstract Expressionism, that it relieved everybody of that deep seriousness. So Pop was thought to be kind of frivolous, and it was a prosperous time in America and people dealt with it that way. I didn’t think that people took it seriously enough! […]

ML: You mentioned Ralston Crawford [American abstract painter] earlier, and I wondered if you were interested in his work at all. There seems to be some connection. AD: I was aware of his work, and I must have seen, not the actual painting, but a reproduction of the highway painting he had done down in the Florida Keys. I finally got to know him. We spent two weeks together. We were commissioned by the Department of Interior to go out to the Grand Coolie Dam, in Spokane, Washington, and to do whatever we wanted to do and to give the work done to the Department of Interior. It’s a programme they’ve had in the works for a long time. That’s how I met him. There were four artists who went out there including Ralston Crawford, myself, someone from Maine and another from Georgia, and there was a distinct difference between those two and the two of us. They would come out in the morning wearing a beret and with an easel, and they would set it up with a little watercolour box or sketch pad and sit down. And Rawley and I would walk around with cameras!

ML: Do you use photographs for your own work? AD: Yes.

ML: Have you been doing that for a long time? AD: I’ve taken a lot of photographs. I don’t always use them. Sometimes it’s just for a detail. I use black and white [prints] and also colour slides. I didn’t use them at first, maybe not until sometime in the 1970s.

11. Without Sound Two 1982

12. Shuttle 1982

Allan D’Arcangelo Drawings

13. Untitled 1974

ML: You use them only for reference? AD: Yes.

ML: You don’t project the slides? AD: Yes, sometimes I do, if there is a part in it I want I might blow it up and trace it out.

ML: Did you feel a connection with painters like Charles Sheeler? AD: Yes. In the 1960s, in that time when I was just beginning with this, it wasn’t such a conscious connection. I was aware of the work and I was, I guess, at one time even thought of as a little bit of a disciple of the Precisionists. […] What I was doing and what other people were doing is really so simple. You paint what is around you, if you are working with imagery. That’s why if I see somebody putting a wine bottle down and a loaf of bread, and they split an onion and they paint it in a still life, I say, ‘Wait a minute. All the guy was doing was painting his lunch, that’s all that was there. So why don’t you paint your own lunch?’ And many of them get very upset because it’s a McDonald’s wrapper and a carton of milk and something like that. With students, especially, the particular objects somehow embody art, rather than their view of the world.

ML: Do you think that the lineage you were constructing for yourself was basically American? All the artists that you have mentioned to me, including Edward Hopper, were not only American but dealt quite consciously with American themes. AD: I guess so, and I guess that’s part of that attitude of coming back from Mexico. I don’t see it separated so much from the European tradition, in the sense that they are easel paintings and you hang them on a wall. It’s all about time and space. It’s the time you’re in and the place you’re in. Specifically American? Yes, I think so. It came from my experience. I don’t think that’s different from Van Gogh painting a bridge in Holland, or fields in Arles or whatever. […]

ML: There’s a basic contradiction, not only in your work but in that of a lot of your generation, that you’ve created a personal idiom by rejecting all overt signs of your own personality, by looking for an

14. Urban Landscape #1 1976–77

15. Urban Landscape #2 1976–77

16. Urban Landscape #3 1976–77

anonymous surface. There is no confusion, one artist’s work for another, but without using any of the methods employed by the previous generation to assert their own personality. AD: [laughs] Right. I stopped signing the work on the front and just signed on the back, because I didn’t want to have the signature; I thought it was superfluous. In paintings like American Madonna [1962] the signature is stencilled. And you’re right. You still create a body of work that is unmistakably the work of a particular artist. That’s really an interesting area to maybe investigate. Lichtenstein was like that, Rosenquist was like that. The one who wasn’t so much was Oldenburg, where he had much more of his personality into the work, and I think you could say the same of Segal.

ML: And Dine, too. AD: And Dine, but not Indiana. But the personality was in the image more so than it was in the technique, so it depends on how you define, or on what reveals, the personality. In Van Gogh the personality seems to be there in the technique, primarily.

ML: As far as the Pop artists were concerned, even the kinds of anonymous surface that each of you were engaged in were different. AD: Yes.

ML: Warhol’s screenprinted surfaces are going to have a very different quality to yours, which still were in the tradition of the hand-painted, or Lichtenstein’s use of dots and outlines. AD: Which is a very strong formal element in his painting.

ML: So I think in a way there is an illusion of anonymity which wasn’t really ever there. AD: [nodding vigorously] It just seemed like that, in contrast to what came before. Yes, that makes sense to me. […]

ML: How much did the acrylic medium itself either influence the way you have painted, or allow you to produce the kind of paintings you wanted?

17. Urban Landscape #5 1976–77

18. Urban Landscape #6 1976–77

AD: A lot. I started using acrylic in Mexico. That’s where it was invented. I wasn’t doing this kind of work in Mexico, but I realised when I did start producing this kind of work that this was the right medium for me to use for it. You can get surfaces like this with oil, but it just seemed laborious. I liked the kind of colour in acrylic, too, and it does hold its colour. I liked the way I could handle the paint.

ML: Did you like the opacity of the colour, as well? AD: Yes, but they are not all opaque. For example a particular yellow can be the result of many coats. If I was doing that in oil paint, it would take a week to dry. What I would do is work on three or four paintings at the same time. Paint the red, and let that dry, and in the meantime go and work on another painting. […]

ML: Earlier on we were talking about eliminating brushwork and all of those issues that were very much associated with Abstract Expressionism. Did you see yourself as deliberately rejecting Abstract Expressionism, reacting against it? Or are there aspects of the style that you have incorporated or reinterpreted? AD: Oh, I honour those artists very much, and it’s nothing at all personal, even toward the work. That’s how I began painting, not in the very beginning, but I did work with an expressionist technique. Always with a subject, though. It wasn’t abstract. In doing that I felt that I was really using somebody else’s means. They didn’t feel honest to me, but that’s not even the right word. It just didn’t feel right. It was somebody else’s attitude. I could see that using a great big brush was great fun, it makes painting kind of pleasurable, but it didn’t sit well with what I wanted to do with painting. This was a time when there was a crisis in my life, in my personal life. And I said, ‘To hell with it, I’m going to make a painting that makes sense to me, period. And if it’s art, OK, and if that’s not art, that’s all right.’ It began then by just sloughing off a lot of that, because I wanted that kind of clarity and immediacy, and it ended up resulting in a rejection of all that, even the whole mythology of it. Although I knew them from hanging around on 10th Street. So it was not a conscious setting out to reject it. But, looking back, that’s what happened.

19. Untitled 1976–77

20. Untitled 1976–77



1. Untitled, 1967 acrylic on canvas 72 × 48 in / 182.9 × 121.9 cm

13. Untitled, 1974 pastel and graphite on paper 18 × 24 in / 45.7 × 61 cm

2. Untitled (Landscape), 1967 acrylic on canvas 69 × 84 in / 175.3 × 213.4 cm

14. Urban Landscape #1, 1976–77 graphite on board 23 1/8 × 29 in / 58.7 × 73.7 cm

3. Cave, 1974 acrylic on canvas 72 × 102 in / 182.9 × 259.1 cm

15. Urban Landscape #2, 1976–77 graphite on board 23 1/8 × 29 in / 58.7 × 73.7 cm

4. Hypostasis, 1974 acrylic on canvas 72 1/8 × 72 1/8 in / 183.2 × 183.2 cm

16. Urban Landscape #3, 1976–77 graphite on board 23 1/8 × 29 in / 58.7 × 73.7 cm

5. Mr & Mrs Moby Dick, 1974 acrylic on canvas 72 × 102 in / 182.9 × 259.1 cm

17. Urban Landscape #5, 1976–77 graphite on board 23 1/8 × 29 in / 58.7 × 73.7 cm

6. Numinosum, 1974 acrylic on canvas 72 × 102 in / 182.9 × 259.1 cm

18. Urban Landscape #6, 1976–77 graphite on board 23 1/8 × 29 in / 58.7 × 73.7 cm

7. Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, 1974 acrylic on canvas 72 × 72 in / 182.9 × 182.9 cm

19. Untitled, 1976–77 graphite on paper 17 1/8 × 14 in / 43.5 × 35.6 cm

8. Landscape, 1976–77 acrylic and graphite on canvas 54 1/8 × 60 1/4 in / 137.5 × 153 cm 9. Rail & Bridge, 1977 acrylic and graphite on canvas 48 × 66 in / 121.9 × 167.6 cm 10. Pi in the Sky, 1981–82 acrylic on canvas 48 × 66 in / 121.9 × 167.6 cm 11. Without Sound Two, 1982 acrylic on canvas 48 × 66 in / 121.9 × 167.6 cm 12. Shuttle, 1982 acrylic on canvas 51 × 36 in / 129.5 × 91.4 cm

20. Untitled, 1976–77 graphite on paper 14 × 17 1/8 in / 35.6 × 43.5 cm

Biography and Selected Exhibitions


Three Centuries of Popular Imagery, Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa; Popular Imagery, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York; The Hard Center, Thibaut Gallery, New York; and An American Viewpoint, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati

Born 16 June, in Buffalo, New York

1948–53 Completes a bachelor’s degree in history from University of Buffalo 1950

Travels around the United States


Moves to Manhattan, New York City, and enrols at The New School of Social Research Travels to Guadalajara, Mexico


Marries Sylvia Resnick

1963–64 Toys by Artists, Betty Parsons Gallery, New York 1963–68 Teaches at School of Visual Arts, New York 1964

1954–55 Studies at City College, City University of New York 1955

Works in collaboration with American artist and writer, Boris Lurie, and begins painting Son, Christopher, born

1957–59 Moves to Cuajimalpa de Morelos, Mexico City, and having joined the army in the mid-1950s, enrols at Mexico City College on the GI Bill. Studies under British painter and art historian, John Golding Meets David Alfaro Siqueiros and becomes interested in pre-Columbian culture and murals of José Clemente Orozco

First solo exhibition, Allan D’Arcangelo: Óleos y Dibujos, is held at Galerie Genova, Mexico City Work shown in Annual Exhibition, Mexican-American Institute of Cultural Relations, Mexico City Daughter, Gabrielle, born


Returns to New York


First solo exhibition in New York at Fischbach Gallery Group shows include Pop Art USA , Oakland Art Museum, California; The Popular Image, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Mixed Media and Pop Art, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York;



Receives commission for an outdoor mural from Transportation and Travel Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair Solo exhibition at Fischbach Gallery, New York Group shows include Sight and Sounds, Cordier & Ekstrom Gallery, New York; Nieuwe Realisten, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague, The Netherlands; touring to Akademie der Künste, Berlin; Pop, Etc. , Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Vienna; American Landscape Painting, Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Boxes, Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles Son, Gideon, born Artist-in-residence at Aspen Institute of Humanistic Studies, Aspen, Colorado (and in 1967) Solo exhibitions at Galerie Ileana Sonnabend, Paris; Fischbach Gallery, New York; Galerie Müller, Stuttgart; Galerie Hans Neuendorf, Hamburg; Galerie Rudolf Zwirner, Cologne Group shows include The Arena of Love, Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles; Pop Art, Nouveau Réalisme, etc. , Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; The New American Realism, Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts; Pop Art and the American Tradition, Milwaukee Arts Center, Wisconsin; Northeastern Regional Exhibition of Art Across America, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; and Pop Art Aus USA , Galerie Neuendorf, Hamburg

1965–66 Work shown in Arakawa, Allan D’Arcangelo, Mark di Suvero, Robert Grosvenor, Anthony Magar, Neil Williams, Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles

1965–67 Work shown in Pop and Op, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; touring North America 1966

Constructs floating and moving sculptures in Northwest Woods, Sag Harbor, New York; recorded on 16mm film and then dismantled Solo exhibition at Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles Group shows include Contemporary Art USA , Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences, Virginia; Games Without Rules, Fischbach Gallery, New York; Critic’s Choice, Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, California; 11 Pop Artists: The New Image, Galerie Friedrich & Dahlem, Munich; touring to Galerie Neuendorf, Hamburg; The Harry N Abrams Collection, Jewish Museum, New York; and Sculpture and Painting Today: Selections from the Collection of Susan Morse Hilles, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

1966–67 Group shows include The Watershed: Two Decades of American Painting, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; touring to National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi; and New Forms, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; touring to Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart; Kunsthalle Bern 1967

Paints mural on tenement building at 340 East 9th Street, New York City, as a gift to the community Travels to Japan and then around the world Artist-in-residence at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; and Denver Museum of Art Solo exhibitions at Fischbach Gallery, New York; Galerie Ricke, Kassel; Obelisk Gallery, Boston; Minami Gallery, Tokyo; Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart Group shows include Selections from the John G Powers Collection, Larry Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut; Paintings: Studio 11, Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart; Formen der Farbe, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; Original

Pop Art, Städtische Kunstausstellung Gelsenkirchen, Germany; Color, Image, Form, Detroit Institute of Arts; Año Experiencias Visuales, Premio Internacional, Instituto Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires; Protest and Hope: An exhibition of Contemporary American Art, Wollman Hall, New School Art Center, New York; Highlights of the 1966–1967 Art Season, Larry Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut; Contemporary Drawings, New York University, New York; and Pop Art Americana: D’Arcangelo, Dine, Kelly, Lichtenstein, Oldenburg, Phillips, Ramos, Rosenquist, Segal, Warhol, Wesley, Wesselmann, Galleria De’ Foscherari, Bologna, Italy 1967–68 Participates in Environment USA: 1957–1967 at the IX Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil, organised by William C Seitz for the National Collection of Fine Arts, Washington, DC Artist-in-residence at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; and Denver Art Museum Group shows include American Painting Now, United States Pavilion at Expo 67, Montreal; and Frank O’Hara / In Memory of My Feelings, Museum of Modern Art, New York 1968


Commissioned to make List Art Poster for Lincoln Center Festival of Arts, New York Teaches at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York Artist-in-residence at Detroit Institute of Art Solo exhibitions at Franklin Siden Gallery, Detroit; Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris Group shows include L’Art Vivant 1965–1968, Fondation Maeght, St-Paulde-Vence, France; Social Comment in America, Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Beyond Literalism: An Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture by Allan D’Arcangelo, Charles Fahlen, Jack Krueger, Naoto Nakagawa, Frank Roth, William Schwedler, William Wiley, Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia Artist-in-residence at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut Solo exhibitions at Gegenverkehr, Aachen, Germany; Fischbach Gallery,




New York; Franklin Siden Gallery, Detroit Group shows include Superlimited: Boxes, Books and Things, Jewish Museum; Contemporary Art — Acquisitions 1966–1969, AlbrightKnox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Painting for City Walls, Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Ikonen der Verkehrskultur, Zentrum für aktuelle Kunst — Gegenverkehr e.V., Aachen, Germany


Commissioned to make a poster for 1972 Olympic Games, Munich, and by US Government Center Developers Corporation to make indoor mural in Bulfinch Building, Boston Receives award from National Institute of Arts and Letters, New York Paints mural on building at 218 West 64th Street, for the New York City Parks Department, as a gift to the city Solo exhibitions at Obelisk Gallery, Boston; Skylite Gallery, Wisconsin State University, Eau Claire Group shows include The Highway, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; touring to Institute for the Arts, Rice University, Houston; Akron Art Institute, Ohio; Painting and Sculpture Today, Indianapolis Museum of Art; Kunst der Sechziger Jahre, Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne; and American Painting: the 1960s, American Federation of Arts, New York

Solo exhibitions, Allan D’Arcangelo: Paintings 1963–1970, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, in collaboration with Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; touring to Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; and Allan D’Arcangelo: Recent Work, Marlborough Gallery, New York Group shows include Collage of Indignation, Hundred Acres Gallery, New York; and Inner Spaces/Outer Limits: Myths and Myth Makers, Lerner-Misrachi Gallery, New York

The Artist and the American Landscape, AM Sachs Gallery, New York

Moves with family to a farm at Kenoza Lake, Sullivan County, New York Teaches at University of Wisconsin, Madison Artist-in-residence at University of Alabama, Birmingham and Tuscaloosa; University of Syracuse, New York; and St Cloud State University, St Cloud, Minnesota Solo exhibitions at Franklin Siden Gallery, Detroit; Elvehjem Art Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison Work shown in Art in Process, Finch College Museum of Art, New York

1973–74 Group shows include Hommage à Picasso, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover and A Selection of Americana and European Paintings from the Richard Brown Baker Collection, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 1973–92 Appointed Professor of Fine Arts (and later professor emeritus) at Brooklyn College, City University of New York 1974

Artist-in-residence at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine Solo exhibitions at Schacht Fine Art Center, Russell Sage College, Troy, New York; Patricia Moore Gallery, Aspen, Colorado; Hokin Gallery, Chicago Group shows include American Pop Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and Contemporary American Painting from the Lewis Collection, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington

1974–75 Work shown in Inaugural Exhibition, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 1975

Artist-in-residence at Memphis Academy of Art, Memphis, Tennessee Solo exhibitions at Marlborough Gallery, New York, and King Pitcher Gallery of Contemporary Art, Pittsburgh

1975–76 Work shown in Images of an Era: The American Poster 1945–75, National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; touring to

Automobile, Flint Institute of Arts, Michigan; Another Aspect of Pop Art, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Institute for Art and Urban Resources, Long Island City, New York

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Texas; Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago; Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York 1975–77





Work shown in American Art since 1945: from the Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Modern Art, New York; touring North America Group exhibitions include Urban Aesthetics, Queens Museum, Flushing, New York; Works by Living American Artists: Western New York, Charles Burchfield Center, Buffalo, New York; Artists Celebrate the Bicentennial, National Gallery, Singapore; Bicentennial Banner Show, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; New York 1976, Riksutallingar Museum, Stockholm; and Artists with Skowhegan, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Work shown in In Praise of Space: The Landscape in American Art, Westminster College, New Wilmington, Pennsylvania; touring to Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC Artist-in-residence at Minneapolis College of Art and Design Solo exhibitions at Contemporary Art Forms, Encino, Los Angeles, and Fiterman Gallery, Minneapolis Group exhibitions include Private Images: Photographs by Painters, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; Photonotations II, Rosa Esman Gallery, New York; Brooklyn College Art Department: Past and Present, 1942–1977, Brooklyn College Art Department, City University of New York; Fotos Aus Der Kunstszene New York, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf; Artists Salute Skowhegan, Kennedy Galleries, New York and Contemporary American Art, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnesota Solo exhibition, D’Arcangelo: Paintings of the Early Sixties, Neuberger Museum of Art, State University of New York at Purchase, New York Group exhibitions include Art and the


Retrospective at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond

1979–80 Retrospective, The American Landscape: Paintings by Allan D’Arcangelo, at the Charles Burchfield Center (later renamed the Burchfield Penny Center), State University of New York; touring to Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, Florida; University Art Gallery, State University of New York at Albany; Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, Kansas; Olean Public Library, Olean, New York 1981

Artist-in-residence at Fort Lauderdale Museum of Modern Art, Florida


Solo exhibition, Allan D’Arcangelo: Paintings 1978–1982, Grace Borgenicht Gallery, New York

1983–93 Teaches at School of Visual Arts, New York 1984

Solo exhibition, Recent Paintings, Elizabeth Galasso Fine Art Leasing, Ossining, New York Work shown in Autoscape: The Automobile in the American Landscape, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and Night Lights, Dart Gallery, Chicago

1984–85 Group exhibitions include Detroit Style, Automotive Form, 1925–1950, Detroit Institute of Arts; A Toast to the N.E.A.: Works by Western New York Artists, Burchfield Art Center, Buffalo, New York, and Automobile and Culture, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles 1986

Work included in Art from the City University of New York: Approaches to Abstraction, Shanghai Exhibition Hall

1986–87 Work included in Pop Art and Image: The Artists’ Choice, Artrain


Artist-in-residence at University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley Group exhibitions include Made in the USA: An Americanization in Modern Art. The 50’s and 60’s, University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley; touring to Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; American Pop Art, Dorsky Gallery, New York; The Artful Traveller, BMW Gallery, New York; Pop Art USA-UK: American and British Artists of the 60’s in the 80’s, Odakyu Grand Gallery, Tokyo; touring to Daimaru Museum, Osaka; Funabashi Seibu Museum of Art, Funabashi; Sogo Museum of Art, Yokohama; and Dallas Pop Art Americana alla Nuova Figurazione, Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan


Work shown in Pop Classics, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark


Major Retrospective exhibition at Palazzina dei Giardini, Modena


Work shown in Pop Art at Princeton: Permanent and Promised, Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey


Solo exhibition at Mitchell-Innes and Nash, New York

2012–13 Work shown in Sinister Pop, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

1988–89 Work included in Drive!, BMW Gallery, New York

2012–16 Work shown in Pop Art Design, Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany; touring to Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Barbican Art Gallery, London; Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Espoo, Finland; Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden, Norway; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago



1987–88 Awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship

Solo exhibition at Jaffe Baker Gallery, Boca Raton, Florida Work shown in Pop Art, Royal Academy of Arts, London


Work shown in The Pop ’60s: Transatlantic Crossing, Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon


Dies 17 December in Manhattan, New York Work shown in Masters of the Masters: MFA Faculty of the School of Visual Arts New York 1983–1998, Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio


Work included in Sites/Sights of Passage: Art of the New Jersey Turnpike, James Howe Gallery, Kean University, New Jersey

2017–18 2000

Solo exhibition at Beth Urdang Gallery, Boston


Work shown in Pop Art: U.S./U.K. Connections, 1956–1966, The Menil Collection, Houston

Work included in America Is Hard to See, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

2016–17 Work included in From the Collection: 1960–1969, Museum of Modern Art, New York 2017


Solo exhibition at Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York Work included in Pop Abstraction, Garth Greenan Gallery, New York; and Bridging the Great Divide: Landscape from Tradition to New Media, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo, New York

Solo exhibition at Garth Greenan Gallery, New York Work included in Pop ‘n’ Op, Asheville Art Museum, North Carolina Work included in An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1940–2017, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Pop Art: Icons That Matter, Musée Maillol, Paris

Public collections

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York Allentown Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania Anderson Gallery, University at Buffalo, State University of New York Art Institute of Chicago Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, North Carolina Atlantic Richfield Company, New York Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida Brooklyn Museum, New York Burchfield Penney Art Center, State University College at Buffalo, New York Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio Canton Museum of Art, Canton, Ohio Center for the Arts, Luther College, Decorah, Iowa Centre Pompidou, Paris Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin, Madison Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire Dallas Museum of Art Denver Art Museum Detroit Institute of Arts De Young Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Fogg Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma, Norman Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague, The Netherlands General Electric Executive Office Building, New York Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Athens Godwin-Ternbach Museum, Queens College, City University of New York Governor Nelson A Rockefeller Empire State Plaza Collection, Albany, New York Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection, New York Herbert F Johnson Museum, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC Indianapolis Museum of Art

Kunstverein in Hamburg Kunstverein Hannover List Visual Arts Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Casa Cavazzini, Udine, Italy Museo La Tertulia, Cali, Colombia Museum Ludwig, Cologne Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Missouri, Columbia Museum of Contemporary Art, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia Museum of Modern Art, New York National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC National Gallery of Australia, Canberra National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne New Jersey State Museum, Trenton New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana New York State Council on the Arts, Albany Niigata Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, Nagaoka, Japan NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale, Florida Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels Pensacola Museum of Art, University of West Florida Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, California Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York Städtische Museum Gelsenkirchen, Gelsenkirchen, Germany Tate Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, Cologne Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Greensboro Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Westfälischer Kunstverein, Munster Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Wichita Art Museum, Wichata, Kansas

This book is published on the occasion of the exhibition Allan D’Arcangelo Pi in the Sky 12 January – 24 February 2018 Waddington Custot 11 Cork Street London W1S 3LT T. +44 (0) 20 7851 2200 Monday to Friday 10 am – 6 pm Saturday 10 am – 4 pm

All works courtesy the Estate of Allan D’Arcangelo, licensed by VAGA and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York All archive imagery courtesy the Estate of Allan D’Arcangelo and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York Conversation transcript Marco Livingstone 2018 This conversation served as part of the research for the author’s book Pop Art: A Continuing History (London: Thames and Hudson, 1990). The transcript is published in its entirety in the exhibition catalogue 2005: retrospettiva / retrospective Allan D’Arcangelo, Palazzina dei Giardini, Modena. Waddington Custot, London, 2018 Published by Waddington Custot Co-ordinated by Jessica Ramsay Designed by Fraser Muggeridge studio