Film reels from the CSMA

Film reels discovered in the Clyfford Still Museum Archives in 2013. Image courtesy Clyfford Still Museum Archives

Recreating Clyfford Still’s 1959 Exhibition

Posted on April 21, 2014

By Victoria Eastburn, director of education and programs, Clyfford Still Museum

In conjunction with Modern Masters: 20th Century Icons from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Clyfford Still Museum reimagines Clyfford Still’s landmark 1959 exhibition at the Albright-Knox in 1959: The Albright-Knox Art Gallery Exhibition Recreated.

To tell the story of Still’s relationship with Albright-Knox, we developed several interactives that not only allow visitors to glimpse the original exhibition that Still curated himself, but also to hear Still’s voice for the first time.

Online, in the digital recreation of the original 1959 exhibition Paintings by Clyfford Still, at www.clyffordstill1959.org, users can explore all of the works in the original exhibition, materials used to plan the exhibition, such as diagrams and notes, vintage installation photographs, and other ephemera.

Onsite at the museum, visitors can explore the digital exhibition as well as a second audio interactive that features Still reading the introduction to the catalogue essay of the same exhibition. This feature is an exciting development for the museum, since, at opening, no audio or video of Clyfford Still had been discovered.

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Seven reel-to-reel and 20 cassette tapes, all with various enticing descriptions such as “Letter to Rothko, and “Letter to Greenberg,” some dating as early as 1949, were found in the Clyfford Still Museum archives inside a small gray box with the inscription Still Audio Tapes. Until these tapes were unearthed, it was thought no audio recordings of the artist existed.

These oral histories are just one of many prizes in the Museum collections that help create a complete picture of the artist. For the first time, the Clyfford Still Museum incorporated one of these recordings into the 1959 exhibition so you can hear Still’s story in his own words.

Explore the interactive online to view the exhibition and related archival materials. Join us at the Museum in the Boettcher Foundation Education Gallery to listen to our new audio interactive and to hear still for yourself.

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