October 27, 2016 - Clyfford Still Museum - Clyfford Still: The Works on Paper
October 27, 2016

Clyfford Still Museum

Photo: Justin Wambold. Courtesy Clyfford Still Museum.

Clyfford Still: The Works on Paper

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The first exhibition to reveal the spectrum of graphic art created by abstract expressionist pioneer Clyfford Still has been captured and expanded in the first digital publication created by the Clyfford Still Museum (CSM) and its Research Center. Clyfford Still: The Works on Paper is now available, featuring high-resolution images of all 256 objects included in the eponymous exhibition, a new essay by Still scholar Patricia Failing, and more. The publication’s static site vehicle is designed to resist technical obsolescence and will be supported by a PDF download function. It is free to view worldwide and will be free to download. 

Every wall of The Works on Paper, installed throughout the Clyfford Still Museum’s renowned Lanny and Sharon Martin Galleries, is represented in the catalogue. Visual content is organized by gallery and featured in a "zoomable" user interface that clearly reveals the evidence of Still’s hand. Failing’s exacting essay matches the scale of this exhibition—the largest ever produced by the Museum—with a trove of new scholarship and biographical details, sourced from the Clyfford Still Museum Archives, that illuminate such topics as Still’s mastery of academic motifs and the influence of English artist, critic, and patron John Ruskin on his ideas and career. 

Clyfford Still: The Works on Paper (October 14, 2016–January 15, 2017) reveals the centrality of drawing within Still’s life-long creative process and, more broadly, offers a unique opportunity for the public to view a vital, missing element in the popular understanding of abstract expressionism. Despite the fact that Clyfford Still drew prolifically throughout his career, historically it has been next to impossible to view Still’s works on paper. Only seven are known to exist in public collections outside Denver. Organized by CSM curators David Anfam, Bailey Harberg Placzek, and Dean Sobel, the exhibition is generously underwritten by US Bank. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. 

The sheer volume (more than 2,300) and variety of Still’s works on paper attest to the significant role draftsmanship played in his art, particularly when compared to his abstract expressionist contemporaries. Still explored graphite, charcoal, pastel, crayon, pen and ink, oil paint, gouache, and tempera, as well as lithography, etching, woodcut, and silkscreen. The artist felt a strong, private connection to his works on paper. In a 1978 letter to the art collector and gallerist Sidney Janis, Still described his pastels as “a visual diary of a personal world.”

A six-minute exhibition video is also available.

About The Clyfford Still Museum Research Center
Directed by David Anfam, the Clyfford Still Museum Research Center (CSMRC) develops multidisciplinary programs and furthers humanities research spanning the 20th century, the period encompassing Clyfford Still’s life. Information about the CSMRC Fellowship Program is available at clyffordstillmuseum.org/opportunities

About The Clyfford Still Museum    
Home to the world’s most intact public collection of a major American artist, 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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