Situated in Denver’s Cultural Arts District, also termed “The Golden Triangle,” the Clyfford Still Museum draws thousands of visitors each year. The museum was established in 2011 and currently holds 3,125 works by the artist Clyfford Still. Still is a renowned American painter best known for promoting abstract expressionism in the period following WW2. The museum holds 95 percent of the artist’s works, dated from the 1920s to the 1980s. The sizable collection of Still’s work and archives was donated by Patricia Still, the artist’s wife, who cooperated with Mayor John W. Hickenlooper to establish this museum to display Still’s artistic contributions.
The Clyfford Still Museum was created to display the singularity of his work. The building, which spans 28,500 square feet, was designed by Brad Cloepfil, who heads Allied Works Architecture, a bicoastal architectural practice that is known for creating innovative spaces in both the private and commercial sectors. The interior halls of the museum accentuate the viewing experience by transforming the atmosphere through the use of deliberate design features both inside the galleries and on the façade of the building.
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The Clyfford Still Museum holds the vast majority of his works as well as personal letters, sketchbooks, personal effects, manuscripts, and other items that allow visitors to make connections between the painter’s aesthetic and lived experience. The museum has a rotating exhibition program that contextualizes Still’s work in a way that draws the links between his artistic viewpoint and the historical period in which he was active. The museum’s curators also work in tandem with the Denver Art Museum and other institutions to further develop the public’s understanding and appreciation of this artist’s legacy.
The current exhibition, titled Artists Select: Roni Horn, allows visitors to view Still’s works dating from the 1940s to the end of his life. This exhibition also features Horn’s own works that were not shown during Still’s lifetime, including both photographic and sculptural installations.
Earlier in the year, the museum held an exhibition by the title of Clyfford Still: The Works on Paper, which presented 260 of Still’s 2,300 graphic, paper-based works. Challenging long-established assumptions that paper-based works are but preparatory steps for larger canvases, the exhibit is a testament to Still’s innovative use of various media, such as charcoal, gauche, crayon, and much more.
Along with free guided tours and an on-demand outreach program, the Clyfford Still Museum has developed a unique education program, called InStill Gallery Experiences, aimed at school children in grades 4-12. These standard-aligned workshops are geared to help children and youth develop critical thinking skills, personal reflections, and aesthetic appreciation for art by way of immersive, discussion-based activities, which are facilitated by the museum staff. This program was developed as part of the InStill Project, which was a collaboration between Denver city teachers and museum staff. The project’s aim was to utilize museum resources to create an enriched learning environment where youth can cultivate an appreciation of fine arts.
Public Programs and Events
The Clyfford Still Museum attracts many local and international visitors thanks to its numerous programs and events. The museum participated in the Final Fridays Art Walk, which was an event series held across many of Denver’s studios, salons, spas, and other creative spaces, giving locals a chance to interact with the city’s arts community.
During the summer, the museum welcomed Damon Grossman, a renowned drummer, for an evening titled Final Fridays: Musical Mediation. Guests enjoyed a relaxing evening full of both ancient and modern chants accompanied by djembe drumming set amidst a water and bird-themed soundscape.
Earlier that month, the museum collaborated on a two-venue exhibition titled Tag Team Talks: Shade: Clyfford Still / Mark Bradford. The first part of the talk took place at the Denver Art Museum, focusing on Bradford’s work, while in the latter half of the event guests examined Still’s work, which was specially selected by Bradford at the Still Museum. The event was centered on the exploration of the ways in which both artists used abstraction to address wider societal issues.
The first weekend of July saw the museum welcome local families in an event titled Summer Family Day. The event included various festivities, family-centered tours, games, and crafts. Later that month, the museum held the Friends of Clyfford Still presents Local Tastes, where Denver eateries interacted with the public by sharing food and drinks inspired by Still’s work. Among the participating restaurants were Block and Larder, French 75, and Blueprint Bar, to name a few. The museum’s forecourt was an ideal setting for an evening of socializing, feasting, and exploring the boundaries between fine art and culinary innovation.
1250 Bannock Street, Denver, CO 80204, Phone: 720-354-4880