Clyfford Still Museum Explores the Artist’s Community in a New Guest-Curated Exhibition, Dialogue and Defiance

Clyfford Still Museum Explores the Artist’s Community in a New Guest-Curated Exhibition, Dialogue and Defiance

DENVER, May 2, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The Clyfford Still Museum (CSM) will open Dialogue and Defiance: Clyfford Still and the Abstract Expressionistsguest curated by scholar Valerie Hellstein, on May 10 for Museum members and May 11 for the public in Denver, CO.

The exhibition considers the nuanced ways Clyfford Still was part of an artists’ community in the late 1940s and early 1950s, despite his protestations. The fiercely independent Still disdained the commercialized art world and did not think highly of artists who participated. In line with these views, Still withdrew his paintings from the Betty Parsons Gallery in 1951. The following year, however, he surprised many by joining the 15 Americans group show at the Museum of Modern Art, curated by Dorothy Miller. He agreed because viewers could experience his paintings in a separate room but still see them within the context of mid-century American painting.

According to Hellstein, even with his turn away from the commercial art world, he remained in dialogue with his contemporaries, and they discussed and explored many of the same questions and ideas.

“When we think of abstract expressionists, we often think of them as isolated geniuses, working alone in their studios—and I don’t want to say there’s no artistic genius—but it doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” said Hellstein. “Trying to put Still in a visual dialogue with his fellow contemporary artists goes a long way toward showing that he wasn’t working in isolation. I hope viewers walking through the galleries get a sense of Still within his community.”

The artworks, exhibition text, interactive features in the digital guide, and archival displays highlight key conversations within Still’s community and their impacts on his art. The CSM mobile guide in the free Bloomberg Connects arts and culture app will include Hellstein’s insights on Still’s relationships and contemporaries, an archival audio recording of Still, and a reenactment of an excerpt from an artists’ panel performed by Buntport Theater actors.

Dialogue and Defiance follows a chronological display of Still’s works in the Museum’s first four galleries and will run until January 12, 2025. Visit for events during the exhibition.

Valerie Hellstein has published extensively and has spoken on various aspects of Abstract Expressionism for over 15 years.

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SOURCE Clyfford Still Museum

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