Clyfford Still Museum in Denver Starts Work on Future Home

. December 15, 2009 . 0 Comments

The Clyfford Still Museum officially broke ground on its future home in a public ceremony that brought together Denver City officials, art and cultural ambassadors, and business leaders. Scheduled to open in 2011 in the heart of Denver’s vibrant arts district, the museum will provide an intimate environment for the viewing of the Still Estates, encompassing some 2,400 works spanning the artist’s career and representing one of the most comprehensive single-artist holdings in the world.

Designed by Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture, the new building reflects the institution’s mission to preserve, present, and celebrate the work of this legendary American artist and will provide architecturally compelling spaces for the study and enjoyment of Still’s work. The two-story Museum will include a series of open and light-filled gallery spaces, designed to accommodate a rotating program of exhibitions showcasing work from throughout Still’s career, the majority of which has never been seen before. An education center, including library and archives, will provide visitors with unprecedented access to additional resources and archival information about the life and work of Clyfford Still.

“Today was a remarkable day for both for the Clyfford Still Museum and the City of Denver as we celebrate this wonderful addition to Denver’s rich cultural and architectural landscape. We are grateful for the ongoing support and commitment of our many benefactors who are making this museum possible,” said Christopher Hunt, President of the Museum’s Board of Directors. Added Director Dean Sobel, “The new Clyfford Still Museum will offer incredible insight into the life and work of one of the greatest painters of our time, and will be of international significance to the collective art and cultural community.”

To date, the Museum has raised $25 million towards its capital campaign goal of $29 million for the design and construction of its new home, with $8 million of new support pledged since the Museum’s last announcement. Representing more than 85 percent of the museum’s total building costs and capital campaign goal, this total has been garnered thanks to major gifts from government agencies, foundations, and individuals in Denver community and from around the country.

Building Design
The design for the Clyfford Still Museum envisions a dense, cantilevered, two-story structure of highly textured and resurfaced concrete. Visitors will approach the 30,000-square-foot museum through a landscaped forecourt, which provides a transition from the city to the experience of viewing the art inside, and a cantilevered canopy of concrete will draw visitors into the museum’s lobby.

The Museum’s first floor will accommodate a ticketing and reception area, library, conservation studio, collection storage, educational facilities, and administrative offices. Connecting these facilities and visitor amenities is an open, double-high corridor, offering glimpses of the artwork on view in the second-floor galleries. This open corridor speaks to the institution’s founding principle of unveiling this once-private and very personal collection to the public. It also lends transparency to the museum experience as visitors are invited to explore elements that are not traditionally seen by the general public.

A beautifully crafted wooden staircase will lead visitors to the museum’s second floor, which features a series of eleven distinct galleries, totaling approximately 10,000 square feet, including an orientation space at the top of the staircase. Visitors will move counter-clockwise throughout the galleries, tracing the chronology of Still’s career as they progress. Each gallery is varied to respond to specific aspects and needs of the collection, which encompasses small works on paper as well as Still’s large-scale paintings in his signature Abstract Expressionist style. The rooms will have varying proportions and different ceiling heights, ranging from 10 feet to 16 feet, which will be echoed on the exterior in differing rooflines. A raised ceiling or clerestory will diffuse natural light into the galleries, providing variegated tonalities of light from room to room. The building will create a powerful viewing experience for visitors, enlivened by natural light and a sense of intimacy with the artwork.

Allied Works
Founded in 1994 by Brad Cloepfil, Allied Works Architecture has recently completed and is currently working on a number of important cultural, educational, and commercial projects throughout the United States, including: the Contemporary Museum of Art St. Louis; the expansion of the Seattle Art Museum; the renovation and expansion of the University of Michigan Museum of Art; the Museum of Arts & Design’s new facility at 2 Columbus Circle in New York; and the major renovation and expansion of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, in the Dallas Arts District, Dallas. Other major projects include the Weiden + Kennedy Advertising Agency headquarters in Portland, Oregon; the Sun Valley Residence in Sun Valley, Idaho; and a new home, guest house and gallery for prominent art collectors, to be located on 350 acres in Dutchess County, New York. Allied Works has offices in Portland, OR, and New York, NY.

The Clyfford Still Museum
The Clyfford Still Museum was founded to promote public and scholarly understanding of the late artist’s work and legacy, through the presentation and preservation of the Clyfford Still and Patricia Still Estate, totaling approximately 2,400 artworks bequeathed to the City of Denver in 2004. Considered one of the most important painters of the twentieth century, Still (1904-1980) was among the first generation of Abstract Expressionist artists who developed a new, powerful approach to painting in the years immediately following World War II. Still’s estate—now understood to be 94 percent of the artist’s total output—as well as his extensive archive, have been sealed off from the public since 1980.

The Clyfford Still Museum will be located in Denver, Colorado, in the heart of the Civic Center Cultural Complex, near the Denver Art Museum and its new Daniel Libeskind-designed building, the Denver Public Library designed by Michael Graves, and the Colorado History Museum. For more information about the Clyfford Still Museum, please visit www.clyffordstillmuseum.org

Category: Museum News

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