Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Clyfford Still Museum - The Building

The Clyfford Still Museum is the newest addition to Denver's exciting art district.  Stills was an extremely private man and his personal collection of his work consisted of 2,400 pieces (roughly 94% of his work).  Most of it had never been seen by the public or the critics.  In his will, he specified that his work be put on display by some city in America that would agree to build a museum to display his work and not break up the collection.  Denver was fortunate to be that city!  Architect Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture in Portland Oregon created a masterpiece in the design of this new museum with its textured poured-in-place concrete walls. 
Actual vertical forms were made of rough-sawn fir planks that featured specific patterns.  Once this pattern was achieved, a sealer was applied to the boards before any concrete was poured.   The architect wanted a building that looked made, not constructed.  I would say he definitely succeeded.
The interior works just as well as the exterior in the way it showcases the works of Clyfford Still.  Each room seems to draw you in.
Not only are the walls made of concrete, the ceilings on the second floor are concrete.  A poured-in-place concrete screens were made. These elongated ovals open up to the skylights above them.  It is a genius way to illuminate the galleries.
I really like the 32 foot blue aluminum sculpture by Joe Shapiro that stands amongst the trees between the Clyfford Still Museum and the Denver Art Museum.  Shapiro is known for his dynamic sculptures composed of simple rectangular shapes.  Titled For Jennifer, it is in honor of Jennifer Moulton, director of planning and development for the City and County of Denver from 1992 - 2003 who died in 2004. 
Denver has some pretty phenomenal architecture and a few of these spectacular buildings are side by side;  the Denver Library on the left and the glass bridge that takes you from the Gio Ponti building of the Denver Art Museum into the Museum's Hamilton Building that was the design of architect Daniel Libeskind.  And of course the new kid on the block, the Clyfford Still Museum.
My next post will be more on Still and his work that is on display in the museum.  I am impressed by both the building and the art!

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