When I arrive at Doyle, an art auction house here in New York, Angelo Madrigale takes me around the space as it’s being set up for a new show. Angelo is the VP/Director of Contemporary Art at Doyle and, while his auctions are done for the season, he’s kind enough to let me poke around a new photography show that’s being installed. There’s an incredible series of images hand-printed by Ansel Adams that will be sold at auction on December 14. Inky black and in high contrast, they’re somehow lushly textured and vibrant despite being devoid of color.
Angelo often works with paintings, especially those in the realm of street art and graffiti. In fact, he was the specialist for the first street art/graffiti auction at Doyle in 2012, which incidentally was the first of its kind in the U.S. He’s happiest when he can propel a newer and/or deserving artist further into the art world by successfully selling their work at auction, he says--it’s something that can really change someone’s life for the better if it goes well.
In 2005, Angelo decided to change his own life. He was previously the drummer in punk band Sadaharu, which released five albums between 2003 and 2007 (you can check out the music video for their song “It's Not Paranoia If They're Shooting Live Bullets” here). Angelo and his wife Lisa decided to reinvent themselves as gallery owners and later art dealers after they got married. It was a natural choice as both had grown up around art and design. They created Metropolis Gallery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in which they showed contemporary art alongside design elements, the space remade each time so viewers could experience each show in context. Though now closed, Metropolis was named a Top 100 Gallery by Juxtapoz Magazine in 2010. Angelo brought his punk sensibilities to the art world, doing what felt right and not waiting for permission. He arrived at Doyle in 2012. Angelo’s first book, a survey of pop artist Oliver Hibert’s career called Eye See You, was released on October 30 of this year and features a foreword by Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.
On the day I meet with Angelo, we head to lunch at Cafe D’Alsace, a French restaurant on the Upper East Side. He patiently answers all of my questions about art and punk and how those things still blend together in his life. We head to a few galleries afterward, first to the Gagosian Shop on Madison Avenue--Angelo loves art books and has a great collection that informs his work at Doyle--then to an Alexander Calder show that holds a piece so big the gallery cut a hole in its ceiling to fit it, and finally an Albert Oehlen exhibition of gray paintings. At one point I notice Angelo’s socks: great white sharks with teeth bared. He laughs. “I never wanted to be the tie guy,” he says. “Those piano key ties are just so lame.”
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