Clyfford Still Museum: Architecture that Enhances Art | The Plan
  1. Home
  2. Magazine 2012
  3. The Plan 060
  4. Clyfford Still Museum: Architecture that Enhances Art

Clyfford Still Museum: Architecture that Enhances Art

Allied Works Architecture

Clyfford Still Museum: Architecture that Enhances Art
By Michael Webb -

Abstract Expressionism was the dominant art movement of the 1950s, and Clyfford Still was one of its leading proponents. But he was also a loner, who withheld his work from galleries, moved from New York to a rural retreat, and retained most of the paintings and sketches he created over six decades. In his will he stipulated that his entire estate be given to an American city willing to establish a permanent home for the study and exhibition of his art. Thirty-one years after his death, that wish has been fulfilled in Denver. The Clyfford Still Museum is a tough fusion of art and architecture, rooted in the earth and open to the sky. Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture worked closely with museum director Dean Sobel to create an ideal viewing environment for huge canvases that explode with energy, as well as smaller early works and sketches. This sober shrine to a great modern master backs up to Daniel Libeskind’s 2006 addition to the Denver Art Museum and it’s hard to imagine a more dramatic juxtaposition of architectural strategies. The Libeskind is all about show and self-expression: a spiky, silvery icon that is ill-suited to the display of art despite the curators’ best efforts to utilize sharp angles and tilted walls. By contrast, Brad Cloepfil crafted galleries to exploit the full potential of Still’s surging canvases, calibrating the proportions of each space, and weaving them together as components of a single volume. His ribbed concrete block wisely makes no effort to compete with its flamboyant neighbor. This block of Denver’s Cultural District should become a mandatory stop for the building committees of museums searching for an architect to create or extend their institutions. Here they can learn that art is best served by architects who work from the inside out, focusing on fundamentals rather than a splashy facade. “I love the idea of limits,” said Cloepfil in a recent interview, “acts of making, discerning, deciding...

Proceed with your preferred purchase option to continue reading
Digital

Digital

5.49 €
Print

Print

15.00 €
Subscription

Subscription

From 35.00 €
Keep up with the latest trends in the architecture and design world

© Maggioli SpA • THE PLAN • Via del Pratello 8 • 40122 Bologna, Italy • T +39 051 227634 • P. IVA 02066400405 • ISSN 2499-6602 • E-ISSN 2385-2054