US Highway 1

Media - 2011.13 - SAAM-2011.13_1 - 75226
Copied Allan D'Arcangelo, US Highway 1, 1962, acrylic on canvas, 4855 in. (121.9139.7 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase made possible by the American Art Forum, 2011.13, © 1962, D'Arcangelo Family Partnership

Artwork Details

US Highway 1
Not on view
4855 in. (121.9139.7 cm)
© 1962, D'Arcangelo Family Partnership
Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the American Art Forum
Mediums Description
acrylic on canvas
  • Landscape — road — Highway 1
Object Number

Artwork Description

The quiet melancholy of D'Arcangelo's highway paintings echoes the ambivalence felt by many Americans during the development of the Interstate Highway System in the 1960s. While offering improved speed, safety, and efficiency, the expanded road system replaced the romantic notion of the open road offered by writers like Jack Kerouac with a new reality of monotonous travel across a standardized commercial landscape. In US Highway 1, the road seen through the windshield blends with the surrounding trees as the sky darkens and a hill blocks a longer view. The hypnotic repetition of white road markings and signs that seem to float in the twilight suggest the suspension of time and an indifference to place. With no destination or even exit ramps in sight, the driver is alone, hurtling forward with the motion of the car.