Today the Royal Academy of Arts unveiled Abstract Expressionism—the first comprehensive survey of the eponymous American postwar movement to be mounted in Europe in more than 50 years. The press opening was attended by more than 200 members of the media; and, in a testament to its significance, The Times (London) and The Telegraph (UK) have already given it five-star reviews. For this international exhibition opportunity, Denver’s own Clyfford Still Museum made an unprecedented loan of nine of Still’s works; until this exhibition, no part of the museum’s permanent collection had been loaned outside of the museum.
The monumental paintings, created by the man who is widely considered to be one of the earliest pioneers of Abstract Expressionism, fill one of the two largest galleries in the exhibition, highlighting Still as a focal point and central figure of the Abstract Expressionist movement together with Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning. Abstract Expressionism runs from September 24, 2016 through January 2, 2017 at the Royal Academy of Arts. The exhibition travels to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, February 3 through June 4, 2017.
“We are tremendously excited that this exhibition has the potential to share Clyfford Still’s incomparable art and ideas with hundreds of thousands of people,” said Dean Sobel, director of the Clyfford Still Museum. “Those who visit Abstract Expressionism will enjoy a rich, immersive preview of what it’s like to fully experience Still’s work in its intended setting, the magnificent galleries of the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver.”
Opened in 2011, the first five years of the museum’s exhibitions, symposia, films, publications and partnerships have placed it, and Denver, among a select group of world-class, single artist museum destinations.
“The Clyfford Still Museum is a gem in Denver’s arts and culture scene,” says Richard Scharf, president and CEO of VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau. “As a city, Denver pursued and received the honor of creating the Clyfford Still Museum and becoming home to the world’s most intact public collection of an American artist—placing us in an elite position within the art world. The loan of these nine works will turn a global spotlight on Denver’s reputation as an international cultural destination.”
A canvas lent by Denver’s American Museum of Western Art to the Tate Modern’s current Georgia O’Keeffe retrospective rounds out an impressive London showing for the city’s cultural amenities this fall.
Clyfford Still Events in Denver
On October 14, the Clyfford Still Museum opens the first exhibition devoted to Still’s graphic art, providing audiences with a revealing look at a rarely explored aspect of his artistic process. Taking over all of the Museum’s galleries and featuring more than 260 works, as well as ephemera drawn from the museum’s Archives, Clyfford Still: The Works on Paper explores the centrality of drawing to Still’s practice. The Museum’s holdings include 2,300 works on paper, and this exhibition draws on this remarkably intact collection (95% of the artist’s total output) to look at how Still’s drawing and painting practices inspired and complemented one another, culminating in some of his best-known works.
On November 18, the Museum kicks off a three-day festival celebrating its fifth anniversary, including a member breakfast, a full day of family activities, and a VIP cocktail reception. Over the course of the past five years, the Clyfford Still Museum has established itself as a dynamic and pioneering institution, redefining the potential for single artist museums. The museum has provided unparalleled access to Still’s work, presenting more than 650 works by Still in 15 exhibitions; published four scholarly catalogues on Still; produced an hour-long documentary film on the artist’s life and work; hosted keynote lectures by national art and architecture critics; launched an innovative school-visit program; discovered and digitized the only known moving images of Still; and hosted free programs to engage the Denver community. The museum offers more than 100 hours of free general admission annually, and youth under 18 receive free admission during all museum hours. Admission to the museum is free throughout the entire celebration weekend, Friday–Sunday.
The museum also continues its pioneering Artists Select program, which launched in 2015 with an exhibition curated by visual artist and composer Mark Mothersbaugh. Throughout 2017, artists Julian Schnabel, Mark Bradford, and Roni Horn curate exhibitions of Still’s work. The series allows various creative professionals to present Still through their own unique perspectives, while also showing the enduring impact Still has on contemporary artists working today.