New Acquisition Label
Allan D'Arcangelo has long been considered a leading figure among the first generation of American Pop artists. US Highway 1
is a quintessential example of D'Arcangelo’s work and an iconic Pop image. In 1962, D'Arcangelo embarked on a series of pictures depicting US Highway 1 on the East Coast. This painting was the first in the series, and served as inspiration for five similar works created between 1962 and 1963. As such, US Highway 1
is a seminal work in D'Arcangelo's oeuvre and a prime example of his signature compositional format: a long strip of asphalt cutting through the landscape and plunging toward a vanishing point on the distant horizon. Dark green silhouettes of trees flank the two-lane highway. The sky above is a solid plane of dark blue. The space is both flat and penetrating. Signs along the highway appear to float over the road as if time has been suspended. This surreal, almost dreamlike quality indicates a major difference between D'Arcangelo's conception of the highway and road imagery presented to the American public by writers such as Jack Kerouac and photographers like Robert Frank
. The latter see the road as a place where things happen, where rites of passage occur and stories unfold. For D'Arcangelo, the road is a place without time and without characters—just the hypnotic repetition of road signs and billboards and the forward motion of the car.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2011