Clyfford Still Museum Opening

Approximately 2,400 works by Clyfford Still are now under one roof — in Denver. For the inaugural exhibition 110 works that have remained virtually unseen grace the walls of the Clyfford Still Museum, opening this Friday, November 18, 2011. In 2004 Patricia Still chose Denver as the home of the collection of her late husband. As stipulated in his will his collection would be donated to a city, not a museum and a building would be erected to house his life’s work. Governor John W. Hickenlooper remembered in 2003 foregoing a meeting with the president of the United States and taking an hour and a half drive from Washington DC to the Baltimore area to meet with Patricia Still and make the case for Denver. And eight years later here it is — the Clyfford Still Museum.

The collection represents nearly 94% of the artist’s works including 825 paintings, 1575 works on paper and 3 sculptures. The inaugural exhibition covers the span of the artist’s 60 year career and provides new insight into the life and work of Still. Future exhibitions will be chosen from the collection, exploring works unknown to the art world. The astonishing and immense amount of work in the collection make this one of the most comprehensive single artist collections in the world.

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Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture was charged with building a space that would naturally and intimately house the collection. The heaviness of the cast-in-place concrete and the weightless natural light that fills the galleries provide a perfect balance for Still’s work. The smaller galleries have no natural light exposure and as you work your way to the larger galleries a breakthrough occurs — a breakthrough in Still’s art and a breakthrough of natural light. The ceiling opens with liquid light that feels alive. Cloepfil wanted the viewer to “feel the presence of the collection.” The building is such a seamless match to the groundbreaking art, all you feel is the presence of the collection.

The Clyfford Still Museum puts Denver on the map as a world class city for art. And lucky for us Colorado residents — we can witness the growth of the trees in the forecourt and be the first to see the rotating exhibits to come. The opening ceremony is at 10:00 am on November 18th and a limited number of complimentary tickets are available for admission. For more information visit their website.

Words by Kelsey MacArthur. Images by Trevor Brown.

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