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Gallery view, Clyfford Still Museum
A view of the Lanny and Sharon Martin Galleries at CSM. Photo by Raul Garcia

Three Major Artists Set to Curate at Denver’s Clyfford Still Museum

Julian Schnabel, Mark Bradford, and Roni Horn to Participate in Clyfford Still Museum’s 2017 Artists Select Series

Major Artists to Curate Exhibitions of Works by Still from Museum’s Collection

Denver, CO— Artists Julian Schnabel, Mark Bradford, and Roni Horn will all curate 2017 exhibitions of Clyfford Still’s works as part of the Clyfford Still Museum’s (CSM) Artists Select series. Inaugurated in 2015, the program invites artists practicing a wide range of creative disciplines to organize an exhibition drawn from the vast holdings of Still’s work housed at the Denver museum. In keeping with Still’s own interest in disrupting traditions and boundaries of the art world, the results offer visitors fresh interpretations of Still’s revolutionary legacy.

“The Artists Select program provides an incredible opportunity to invite contemporary artists to engage with Still’s work, and to bring with them a refreshing curatorial perspective,” said Clyfford Still Museum Director Dean Sobel. “Each of these artists is quite different, and each contributes a unique perspective to this series. Schnabel used abstract expressionism as one point of departure for his own work and almost singlehandedly brought expressionist painting back into the fore earlier in his career.

Bradford has a deep interest in how and why artists use color and the ways in which painters derive meaning from their acts. Horn drew my attention as an artist who offers new approaches to abstraction, material, color, surface, memory, history, and language.”

The 2017 series, part of the Museum’s fifth anniversary celebration, will continue the Museum’s mission of shedding new light on Still’s work and creating an enduring legacy for the artist. The first exhibition will open on January 20 with an installation curated by Schnabel. On view through April 2, the exhibition will span the Museum’s nine galleries and feature 60 of Still’s mature abstract works, including a series of works that the artist made late in life. Nearly one third of Schnabel’s selections have never been on public view.

“Art and life are incongruous. Each has a life of its own. I happened to meet Clyfford Still by chance while he was visiting an old student of his who had rented the front part of my studio on 20th Street. I had always been an admirer of his work. I was 27 years old at the time. He and I had no idea that 35 years later, through this exhibition, I would come    to be the custodian of his beloved work. Or that, through my eyes, there might be a possible reading of his work that might help to illuminate his contribution and also bring it to an audience who  hadn’t been  born  yet and  others who  might have  skipped  over his legacy, and maybe meld the world of his art with the art world of the present and       the future. His work keeps bringing its present into infinity to those that only his paintings will meet.” —Julian Schnabel

In April 2017, Bradford’s presentation will feature approximately fifteen works that span five decades of Still’s career. Bradford is particularly interested in Still’s use of black pigments, and the works on view will reflect that fascination. Bradford’s exhibition will take place in the Museum’s two largest galleries and form a part of a larger exhibition, Shade: Clyfford Still / Mark Bradford, featuring a correlating presentation of Bradford’s works on view simultaneously at the adjacent Denver Art Museum. In comparing his studio process with Still’s, Mark Bradford said, “My paintings are made up of tearing. To me it represents a process that is more of a reality than laying down a perfect line of paint. It’s raw and violent but it still comes together. And it’s not just a tearing that you see in Still’s paintings, it’s a collision of colors. There aren’t smooth transitions.”

For the third and final exhibition in the 2017 series, Roni Horn will offer visitors the chance to see Still’s works presented through the lens of a sculptor and photographer.

The Artists Select series launched in 2015 with an exhibition curated by Mark Mothersbaugh, who referred to his curation as akin to being “a visual DJ.” Mothersbaugh, a visual artist, composer of scores for movies and television, and frontman for the influential musical group DEVO, created musical compositions in response to Still’s works that were offered on headphones in the gallery and are currently available at clyffordstillmuseum.org.


The Clyfford Still Museum opened in November of 2011 to promote public and scholarly understanding of the life  and  work of Clyfford  Still (1904–80). Considered  one of the most important painters of the 20th century, Still was among the first generation of  Abstract Expressionist artists who developed  a  new, powerful approach to painting  in the years following World War II. In addition to approximately 9,000 square feet of exhibition space devoted solely to the artist’s work, the Museum also houses  the Clyfford Still Museum Archives and the Clyfford Still Museum Research Center. The Los Angeles Times calls the Museum “a marvelous model for what a single-artist museum can be.” Smithsonian Magazine describes the Museum as “among the best art museum experiences anywhere.” The Museum was designed by Allied Works Architecture, which received the 2013 Design Award, 2012 Honor Award, and 2012 Craftsmanship Award  from regional chapters of the American Institute of Architects for the project.

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