September 22, 2015 - Clyfford Still Museum - Repeat/Recreate: Clyfford Still’s “Replicas”
September 22, 2015

Repeat/Recreate: Clyfford Still’s “Replicas”

Left: Clyfford Still, PH-89 (1949-A-No.1), 1949. Oil on canvas, 93 x 79 in. Private Collection. Right: Clyfford Still, PH-177 (1949-A-No. 2), 1949. Oil on canvas, 80 x 68.5 in. Photo: Tim Nighswander/ © City and County of Denver / ARS, NY.

Repeat/Recreate: Clyfford Still’s “Replicas”
September 18, 2015–January 10, 2016

Clyfford Still Museum
1250 Bannock Street
Denver, CO 80204

As a definitive presentation of a hitherto little-known practice in the work of the reclusive Abstract Expressionist pioneer Clyfford Still, Repeat/Recreate offers a new window into his dramatic artistic vision. In the process, the exhibition also challenges the popular understanding of Abstract Expressionism as an outpouring of impulsive creativity. 

Repeat/Recreate presents Still’s serial compositions, which he called “replicas,” exhibited in pairings that span the years from 1925 to 1974. At least 19 works featured in Repeat/Recreate have never been shown publicly, while only one of the exhibition’s pairings has previously been exhibited in tandem. Works from the Detroit Institute of Arts, Glenstone; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; the Museum of Fine Arts Houston; the Museum of Modern Art; the Smithsonian American Art Museum; and four private collections are reunited in the display with those from the collection housed permanently at the Clyfford Still Museum (CSM). 

Repeat/Recreate: Clyfford Still’s “Replicas” is curated by CSM director Dean Sobel and David Anfam, senior consulting curator at CSM and director of the Clyfford Still Museum Research Center (CSMRC). An exhibition catalogue—the first publication of the CSMRC—contains more than 30 full-color plates, as well as essays by Anfam and Neal Benezra, director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Repeat/Recreate: Clyfford Still’s “Replicas” is available here.

Often only small divergences are detectible between Still’s replicas, which range from duos to trios. In other instances, an earlier composition is recast with strikingly novel chromatic choices or on a somewhat changed scale. “The mere existence of these replicas throws much of popular culture’s perception of abstract expressionism off balance,” says Dean Sobel. “This exhibition illustrates how paintings of Still, Pollock, Rothko, and Motherwell were not the outpourings of unbridled and fleeting creative impulses but were, in fact, the result of slow, methodical deliberations that could—and would—be recreated in marvelous variations. These vanguard ‘irascibles,’ as they were dubbed in 1950, were more traditional than what many viewers might often suspect. Whether it be Pollock’s poured and drip works, Rothko’s juxtaposed rectangles, Newman’s ‘zips,’ or Motherwell’s Elegies to the Spanish Republic, replication is at the core of Abstract Expressionism as a whole.”

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, the 2012 Honor Award, and the 2012 Craftsmanship Award from regional chapters of the American Institute of Architects for the project.

Clyfford Still Museum presents Repeat/Recreate: Clyfford Still’s “Replicas”
Clyfford Still Museum
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