Can You Reach
Noel DeGaetano’s studies began at the School of Visual Arts in 1960 where he studied painting and drawing. He also studied individually with Francis Criss who taught painting at SVA. After SVA, Mr. DeGaetano befriended the artist Fred Mitchell, one of the founding members of the Coenties Slip group of artists who had studio lofts near the Battery in New York City. He studied drawing and painting with Mr. Mitchell at his studio at the Seamen’s Church Institute from 1965 to 1968.
In addition to SVA, some of the schools that Mr. DeGaetano attended included Hunter College, New York University, the Frank Reilly School (for drawing) and the New School For Social Research (painting with Joseph Steffanelli).
DeGaetano went on to help form a group of artists in 1970 with the opening of Super Nova, a school, gallery, art event place, that was funded by the New York State Council on the Arts for three years. This was a free school for art, printmaking, photography, dance and sound composition. It also was an experimental gallery for new expressions of art, music and dance. One of the conceptual exhibits that took place at Super Nova was called “String Piece” where the artists all participated in wrapping string around our block (West Broadway to Spring to Wooster to Houston Streets and back to West Broadway). They documented the piece using actual street sounds, a video and black and white photographs; which were then installed in the gallery.
In late 1971, Mr. DeGaetano was introduced to the sculptor Louise Nevelson and subsequently became her assistant. He set up a studio in a trucking garage near where Mrs. Nevelson already owned several buildings. Mr. DeGaetano was in charge of fabricating all the large sculptures working for Mrs. Nevelson during the day and then working on his own painting in the evenings.
In 1977, on the recommendation of Mrs. Nevelson and the composer Samuel Barber, Mr. DeGaetano was given a fellowship grant at the Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos New Mexico for one year. He was given a studio and a small stipend for materials. “It was heaven sent, as I was able to totally focus on my work and produced quite a bit of art during this time.” Mr. DeGaetano also met his future wife in Taos and subsequently stayed and lived in Taos. In 1982, after a trip east, he realized that he should be back in New York, and with his family, moved to East Chester, New York and set up a studio.
A year later, he opened the gallery, Noel Fine Art, where he has shown contemporary, up and coming artists since then. DeGaetano has taught and lectured for many years. In 1990, he taught high school children at the prestigious school, Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts with other artists including Frank Stella.
DeGaetano has been reviewed in the New York Times and other publications for his exhibitions.