Anderson Gallery Receives Archive, Artwork of Alum

Gifts support major retrospective of the artist planned for 2009

Release Date: February 3, 2006 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The UB Anderson Gallery, the University at Buffalo's art museum, has received the archive -- personal journals, travel slides and other artifacts -- and seven works of art by the late artist and UB alumnus Allan D'Arcangelo (1930-98). The gifts significantly contribute to UB Anderson Gallery's continuing endeavor to be an academic resource for students and scholars by supplementing its growing collection and archive on contemporary art.

The archive includes D'Arcangelo's personal journals, correspondence, audiocassette interviews, travel slides, 16mm film and video footage, announcement cards, art catalogs, and periodicals, documenting his life and career. The seven works of art from the late 1960s and early 1970s include an acrylic, a color silkscreen and five drawings.

"Allan D'Arcangelo is from the same generation of artists in our collection and represented by our benefactor David K. Anderson and his mother Martha Jackson," said Sandra Olsen, director of UB Art Galleries. "This gift furthers our efforts to become a central resource for information on D'Arcangelo and other artists from the post-World War II era."

The archive and artwork will be central to research conducted by Sandra Firmin, UB Art Gallery curator, who is planning a major retrospective of the artist's work, in collaboration with the Burchfield-Penney Art Center, scheduled for 2009.

Born to Italian immigrants in Buffalo in 1930, D'Arcangelo received his bachelor's degree in history from UB in 1953 and then moved to New York City to pursue his interest in the arts. He began painting in the late 1950s, at a pivotal moment when artists, critics and dealers were challenging the dominance of abstract expressionism and other modernist doctrines and hotly contesting new criteria defining the creation and interpretation of art in society. As an artist, activist and educator, D'Arcangelo communicated his socially minded ideas in his artwork, in "ban the bomb" and antiwar protests and in the classroom, teaching at the School of Visual Arts (1963-68 and 1982-92) and Brooklyn College (1973-92).

Represented first by the Fischbach Gallery in the 1960s and then by the Marlborough Gallery in the 1970s, he was featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions internationally that were well received by critics, art historians and, especially, his peers. Public collections with major holdings include the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Burchfield-Penney Art Center, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

D'Arcangelo believed resolutely in the social role of the artist and, beginning in the 1960s through the early '80s, created bold compositions and emblematic depictions of consumer products, highway landscapes, industrial structures, barricades and airplanes to grapple with philosophical uncertainties endemic to a changing society.

While many critics, curators and scholars, including Lawrence Alloway, Dore Ashton, and David Antin, have reaffirmed continually D'Arcangelo's position as a leading figure, his importance and originality has not been duly recognized, partly because of his willful withdrawal from the commercial art world in the 1980s until his death. This gift and the planned retrospective will provide new insight into D'Arcangelo's contributions to the field.

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