This publication and the exhibition it accompanies represent a number of firsts for the Clyfford Still Museum. Perhaps most exciting, this is the first exhibition to coincide with the Museum’s fifth anniversary. (Coincidentally, this publication is the fifth book published by the Museum in as many years.) It is also the first exhibition dedicated to Still’s graphic art, a momentous occasion, but one imposed by the fact that the artist retained almost all of his drawings for his personal collection. Even though the Museum galleries almost always feature a selection of drawings, and certain special exhibitions have included works on paper, the present exhibition includes several dozen drawings that are being exhibited for the first time.
Also of note: this is the first Museum exhibition to include a hands-on, interactive art studio. Dubbed “the DRAWING Room,” this space features drawing activities, artist demonstrations, and a community-created art installation. Finally, this publication is our first in a digital format. This new platform not only offers greater portability; it also provides the unique ability to examine Still’s often-detailed artworks through a powerful zoom feature. Since it is available as a free download, its reach will be exponentially greater than any of our print-only volumes.
We are very grateful for the support provided by U.S. Bank. As our lead sponsor for our inaugural year, and a supporter of projects every year since, U.S. Bank has been a model of corporate philanthropy, for the Clyfford Still Museum and many other cultural organizations in Colorado and beyond. Hassan A. Salem and Linda A. Tinney of U.S. Bank Colorado have been key to this ongoing support. I would also like to acknowledge the National Endowment of the Arts, which provided a generous grant as part of its Art Works program.
Two lenders, the New Jersey State Museum and a private collection, are fortunate to own important Still works on paper outside the artist’s estate, a rarity for any collection. We are grateful that both were able to part with their works so they could join and round out this exhibition.
Both the exhibition and publication bear richer fruit due to the eyes and minds of my esteemed colleagues David Anfam, senior consulting curator, and Bailey Plazcek, assistant curator and collections manager, who joined me as co-curators of this exhibition. The entire staff similarly rose to this occasion. Victoria Eastburn, director of education and programs, conceived of the DRAWING Room, and Sarah Wambold, director of digital media, designed and managed the production of this publication, the digital version of which was developed by Marty Spellerberg. Emily Kosakowski, registrar, was also instrumental to many aspects of this exhibition, as was David Finch, facilities manager, who oversaw several alterations to the galleries, many necessitated by the fragile nature of the artworks. Jessie de la Cruz, the Museum’s archivist and digital collections manager, provided expertise and assistance, while Matt Rue lent his usual skills to the exhibition design.
Patricia Failing, professor emerita at the University of Washington, provided the main essay for this publication, drawing heavily on her extensive research of Still’s early art and life. This essay, her second for a Museum publication, follows the similar in-depth research she performed for the exhibition she curated for the Museum in 2015, Clyfford Still: The Colville Reservation and Beyond, 1934–1939. I would also like to acknowledge Lauren Weinberg who edited this publication.
I would also like to acknowledge the contributions made by Joan Prusse, deputy director; Mark Colvin, controller; John Eding, director of marketing and communications; Lydia Garmaier, director of visitor services; Kelly Merrion, director of membership and development; Sonia Rae, director of audience engagement; and James Squires, chief conservator.
I’d like to extend one final thanks to the many visitors to the Museum over the past five years who, in ways big and small, have helped spread the word about Clyfford Still and his amazing legacy.
Dean Sobel. “Acknowledgments.” In Clyfford Still: The Works on Paper. Denver: Clyfford Still Museum Research Center, 2016. http://pubs.clyffordstillmuseum.org/worksonpaper/acknowledgments/.
Sobel, Dean. “Acknowledgments.” Clyfford Still: The Works on Paper. Denver: Clyfford Still Museum Research Center, 2016. 1 Nov. 2016 <http://pubs.clyffordstillmuseum.org/worksonpaper/acknowledgments/>.