Stories We Tell: The Collection Two Ways at The Clyfford Still Museum 

The Clyfford Still Museum recently opened a new exhibition titled Stories We Tell: The Collection Two Ways featuring works from the Museum’s collection in two complementary but alternate ways as a means to understand how curation impacts the understanding of the artist’s work. As museums look at their collections with fresh eyes, this is one of the most creative ways to reinterpret Still’s oeuvre and adapt to the new world.

Curated by Bailey Placzek, CSM associate curator and Dean Sobel, former CSM director, Stories We Tell: The Collection Two Ways presents Still’s works arranged chronologically in the first five galleries and thematically in the remaining four rooms.

According to Placzek and Sobel, the primary strategy for both curatorial displays is to illustrate some of the main artistic foundations that ground Still’s art. These include his stylistic path from representation to abstraction; the role of figuration, color, machines, and doubling in his art; how the artist changes an image across media; and Still’s conception of artistic space. The curatorial effort demonstrates the importance of a multiplicity of approaches when presenting artworks to art lovers and visitors.

“Museums go to great lengths to organize their collections for their various audiences: by culture, maker, nationality, chronology, stylistic movement, theme, and even size,” said Placzek. “While thoughtful presentation of artworks in exhibitions is essential, every strategy has its own strengths and shortcomings, and every visitor has unique expectations when it comes to viewing art. We welcome visitors to think about their own preferences and leave feedback.”

The Museum also offers a focus on works which respond to the current themes of the global pandemic, economic difficulties and the 2020 USA polarized political views.

Image: Clyfford Still, PH-424, 1950. Oil on canvas, 81 3/4 x 59 3/4 in. Clyfford Still Museum, Denver, CO. © City and County of Denver / ARS, NY