Allan D'Arcangelo was born in Buffalo, New York on June 16, 1930. He studied at the University of Buffalo, City College of New York and the New School for Social Research, also privately with Boris Lurie and under John Golding and Fernando Belain at Mexico City College. He lived and worked in New York City where he has been instructor at the School of Visual Arts from 1963 to 1968, Professor of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York in 1968, Professor of Art, Brooklyn College in 1973, Artist-in-Residence, Aspen Institute from 1965 to 1967, visiting artist at Yale in 1969, Syracuse in 1971, University of Alabama in 1972, University of Wisconsin in 1972, Skowhegan School of Art, Maine in 1974, Memphis Academy of Art in 1975, Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1977. He was the winner of awards from University of Omaha in 1966, and Hofstra University in 1967.
During the 1960s, D'Arcangelo was linked with Pop Art, but he is better known for his pictures of highways and roadblocks made during the 1960s. He returned to highway imagery more directly in the 1970s. In the spring of 1980 he had his first one-man show in New York in five years, showing new pictures that are simplified scenic landscapes. His American industrial scenes seem more related to the pristine work of Charles Sheeler than to the Pop of Roy Lichtenstein. In the early 1970s D'Arcangelo moved to a farm in the Catskill Mountains and gradually changed his style to rougher, more primitive works. He died of leukemia in New York City on December 17, 1998.