Denver, CO – February 24, 2021 – The Clyfford Still Museum (CSM) in partnership with Denver Month of Photography, will present the virtual program Into the Archives: Photography from the Colville Reservation at 6 p.m. MDT on March 18 on Zoom and YouTube.
In 1937, Clyfford Still co-founded an artists’ colony in Nespelem, the Indian Agency on the Colville Reservation in Washington state. During his time there, Still sketched and photographed the Native Americans whose livelihoods had been negatively impacted by the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam by the U.S. government. The program will feature a conversation between Milo Carpenter, CSM associate digital archivist and Michael Holloman, Washington State University associate professor and member of the Colville Confederated Tribes. Their conversation will shed light on the creation and context of these photographs.
“Prior to the building of Grand Coulee Dam, the upper Columbia River watershed was an isolated area more affiliated with the frontier, than as a testament to one of mankind’s most remarkable engineering achievements,” said Holloman. “Fifteen miles north stood the Colville Indian Agency, where then unknown artist Clyfford Still became personally aware of the inequity of tribal rights and representation.”
Carpenter will join the program from the archival research lab at CSM and Holloman will join from the galleries of an exhibition currently on view at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. They will focus on one of the photographs in CSM’s newly reinstalled archival display cases, Portrait of a woman in traditional Native American dress, taken in June 1936 in Nespelem. The photograph will serve as an introduction to Nespelem and the Colville Confederated Tribes, Coulee Dam, and how Still found his way there. Carpenter will also discuss what the Museum has learned about the photograph from field and diary notes, Still’s perspectives on photography, the artist’s preferences for sketching vs. taking photographs. Holloman will share the cultural and historical significance of the photograph’s content and will discuss the larger history and context of artists photographing indigenous communities.
For more information or to register for the program on Zoom, please visit the Clyfford Still Museum’s website at clyffordstillmuseum.org.
About the Clyfford Still Museum
Designed by Allied Works Architecture to display the revolutionary art of one of the 20th century’s greatest artists, the Clyfford Still Museum opened in November 2011 in Denver’s Golden Triangle Creative District. Considered one of the most important and mysterious painters of the 20th century, Clyfford Still (1904-1980) was among the first generation of abstract expressionist artists who developed a new and powerful approach to painting in the years during and immediately after World War II. The Museum’s collection represents more than 93% of the artist’s lifetime output. As the steward of Still’s art and legacy, the Museum’s mission is to preserve, exhibit, study, and foster engagement with its unique collections; generate outstanding exhibitions, scholarly research, educational and other cross-disciplinary programs that broaden the definition of a “single-artist” museum; and be a gathering place for the exploration of innovation and individual artistic endeavor. Connect with the Clyfford Still Museum on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or at clyffordstillmuseum.org.
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