Clyfford Still Museum

Too many years ago, when I studied painting and drawing in San Francisco, I was intrigued with the work of artist, Clyfford Still. His paintings at the SF Museum of Modern Art always attracted me and quietly lured me into their jagged crevices of color and light.
Long after his death, I remember reading that within the will of the artist, he strongly desired the remainder of his work to be housed within a museum fully dedicated to his art, life and career (see, "The strange will of Clyfford Still", by Colin Dabkowski, Buffalo News, Spotlight, January 6, 2012).
This morning I came across a posting on my reading list about the new Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, designed by Allied Works Architects. From the website of the architect:
"In 2007, Allied Works was selected to design the Clyfford Still Museum, a single-artist institution devoted to the life and work of one of the 20th century’s most influential and enigmatic painters."
"The galleries respond to the evolving character of Still’s art, changing scale and proportion, while varying the intensity of light."
In an article written by Leah Ollman (Los Angeles Times, November 20, 2011), she states,
"Clyfford Still was averse to showing his art in architectural settings that he considered either flamboyant or coldly impersonal, and he railed against anything that distracts viewers from the art itself."
From the photographs, it would appear that the designers were particularly sensitive to the artist's work. The exterior concrete, with its rusticated, hammered texture, seems to prepare the visitor for what is to appear inside; while the interior concrete, smooth and colored with a soft gray - along with the prerequisite stark white gallery walls - seems the quintessential background for displaying the artist's abstract paintings.
As an admirer of Still's work, I was pleased that the architecture (viewed via photography), while raw and beautiful in its own right, allows the work of the artist to shine.
Installation view of the inaugural exhibition
Installation view, Still's early figurative paintings
According to the museum fact sheet, the collection includes, "825 paintings, 1575 works on paper, three sculptures and archival materials such as letters, sketchbooks, and photographs." The building encompasses 28,500 square feet of space, including 10,000 sf of exhibition galleries, containing one of the "most comprehensive single-artist collections in the world."
I look forward to visiting the museum in the future and hope to return with photographs and a follow-up report. In the meantime, you may find out more about the museum and the architect by visiting the links provided below.

Clifford Still Museum
Brad Cloepfil, Allied Works Architects


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