Clyfford Still Museum

1250 Bannock Street

Clyfford Still Museum

Clyfford Still is considered one of the most important artists of the 20th century and belonged to the first generation of abstract expressionist artists who developed a powerful and innovative approach to painting following World War II. The Clyfford Still Museum,which opened in 2011, was founded to promote public and scholarly understanding of the late artist’s work through the preservation and presentation of more than 94% of his total output. Denver competed with several other cities for Still’s collection and, in 2004, was selected by Still’s widow, Patricia, to receive the collection, plus additional archival materials, with the requirement that the city build a museum entirely devoted to his work.

The museum is a ribbed, cast-in-place concrete building with strategically placed wooden elements and windows that bring rhythm to the exterior with a focused infusion of light to the interior. The Still Museum is an elegant 28,000-square-foot structure. The upper cantilevered level is dedicated to 10,000 square feet of gallery space. Concerns of intimacy, proportion and ideal viewing conditions influenced the design of the museum. As a result, the largest gallery measures only about 1,200 square feet, with a ceiling placed, by today’s standards, at a modest 12 to 16 feet above the floor.

The quality of light, not just within the galleries but in the entire building as a whole, is the essential characteristic of the design, even more defining than the 4,000 cubic yards of textured concrete cast into the earth. The evenly dispersed natural light that fills the exhibition rooms not only presents Still’s canvas surfaces in the most compelling and truthful way; the gentleness of the daylight also enlivens the senses as visitors move through the variously proportioned spaces.

The Still Museum collection, which represents 95 percent of the artist’s lifetime output, includes approximately 3,125 works created between 1920 and 1980. The gallery exhibits rotate periodically, ever revealing new works. The gallery displays on the second floor, combined with the interactive timeline and glimpses at Still’s archives on the lower level, offer visitors a thorough look at the artist and the man.

References
About the Museum. Retrieved from https://clyffordstillmuseum.org/about-the-museum.
Voelz Chandler, M. (2013). Guide to Denver Architecture. Denver, Colorado: Fulcrum Group.
Clyfford Still Museum. Retrieved from https://alliedworks.com/projects/clyfford-still-museum.
Sobel,D., McCarter, R., & Cleopfil, B. (2013) Clyfford Still Museum: Allied Works Architecture. Berlin, Germany: Hatje Cantz.


Site Activities
Free admission and free architecture tour Saturday, Sept. 21, at 2:00PM and Sunday, Sept. 22, at 3:00PM.

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