It’s no great trick to locate signs of American culture in Allan D’Arcangelo’s work. The paintings on which he made his reputation in the 1960s and ’70s are, of course, filled with them: road signs sleekly abstracted into directional tangles, advertising logos floating with uncanny serenity along the dark edges of empty highways. But even as D’Arcangelo, who died in 1998 at the age of sixty-eight, began to move away from these early signature motifs, he continued to conjure a kind of echt American landscape, producing enigmatic environments populated with elegantly stripped-down infrastructural and industrial forms. If at first these monuments of the built environment read as emblems of the deeply ingrained American cultural ambition toward spatial conquest, they are in fact considerably more nuanced, also signaling a melancholy that inevitably surrounds any attempt to stake out
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