clyfford still | museum
Image of a painting and signs on the wall
Art Protector installation and Clyfford Still, PH-844, 1972 (detail). Oil on canvas, 80 1/2 x 105 1/2 in. Clyfford Still Museum, Denver, CO. © City and County of Denver / ARS, NY

Be an Art Protector!

To reaffirm to our audiences the importance of not touching the art and empower them to help educate others on why protecting the art is important, we included a new Art Protector installation for all ages on the concrete wall in the first gallery of the current exhibition. The installation shows detailed images of damaged art and the types of damage that can occur.

During your adventure, remember to:

  • Look carefully at the artworks, but do not touch.
  • Stay two big steps away from the art (practice by standing on the art protector star on the floor).
  • Share what you see with your family and friends.

Help us care for our collection.

The Clyfford Still Museum is steward to over 93% of everything our namesake made in his life. Most of these objects have never been shown publicly outside of this museum and are in remarkably pristine condition. We show his paintings without the protection of glass so you can see his richly varied surfaces. Help us keep these paintings safe for future generations by keeping at least three feet away from the artwork, as indicated by the feet below, and by not touching them.

Why is this important?

Paintings are fragile. When artworks are touched, we may see the impact right away, but sometimes it takes years or even decades to see damage.

Types of Damage:

  • Oils from hands – Even when our hands are clean, our skin can leave oils that discolor the surface over time and attract grime.
  • Fragile surface, paint loss – Oil paints become brittle over time. When a painting is touched, paint can come loose or break free from the canvas.
  • Surface burnish – Still sought to create richly textured paintings, which sometimes involve his contrasting use of high gloss and matte paint. Matte areas are particularly sensitive. When people rub those delicate surfaces, the friction wears the texture down and leaves a burnished (or polished) area that conservators cannot easily fix.
  • Future sigmoid (crescent-like) cracking – When a painting is touched or pressure is applied, we might not see the damage until years later. Over time, a cobweb-like formation of cracks can develop, radiating from the point of impact.

Being an Art Protector and empowering our audiences to do the same helps keep paintings safe for future generations.

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