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Woman wearing a yellow dress stands in front of a large blue abstract painting
Photo by Trevr Merchant

Clyfford Still Museum opens new exhibition Still: Elemental on September 27

Exhibition features multisensory experiences to engage visitors’ emotions

Denver, CO – September 19, 2019 – The Clyfford Still Museum (CSM) will open the new exhibition Still: Elemental on September 27.  The non-chronological exhibition explores Still’s work through the lens of the classical elements of Greek philosophy: earth, water, air, fire, and æther and fills five skylit galleries and the works on paper gallery.

This is the first large-scale exhibition curated by Bailey Harberg Placzek, CSM’s associate curator/catalogue raisonné research and project manager.  “The elements have been used throughout history and all over the world to explore big questions like, ‘What are the origins of life on earth?’ and ‘What comprises the human soul?,’” said Placzek.  “They seemed like a perfect lens through which we could experience Clyfford Still’s work.”

According to Placzek, Still’s artwork is intended to be transcendent, experiential, and to connect to humanity on an intrinsic level rather than to convey a specific, concrete message.  She said Still wanted to create something that was timeless, universal, and tap into the core of what it means to be alive in this world.  “Just as standing in front of a beautiful sunset or witnessing a raging wildfire inspires deeply felt, basic emotions in us all—you don’t need any sort of art history background or knowledge of art to have a meaningful experience in front of his work.”

In Still: Elemental, each gallery will include unique, multisensory features to engage visitors’ senses of smell in earth, hearing in fire and air, sight in water, and feeling/emotion in æther.

“I wanted to create an environment that would encourage this type of visceral experience,” said Placzek.  “Each room is designed to be immersive and convey an emotional power reminiscent of a respective element.  Multisensory features like sound and smell have been incorporated to hopefully reinforce and bolster these ideas.”

In addition to the exhibition, the Museum will host a variety of programs and events incorporating the elemental themes of the exhibition.  Examples include a Curatorial Tour with Bailey Harberg Placzek, Smell This Show tours incorporating a variety of scents in the galleries, Family Tours with lessons and art projects highlighting the elements, a lecture on how the elements impact the conservation of Still’s works, and more.

Still: Elemental will be open until January 12, 2020.  Visit clyffordstillmuseum.org for more information on the exhibition and programs.

About the Clyfford Still Museum

Designed by Allied Works Architecture to display the revolutionary art of a modern master, the Clyfford Still Museum opened in November 2011 in Denver’s burgeoning 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 95 percent 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 FacebookTwitterInstagram or at clyffordstillmuseum.org.

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