Clyfford Still Museum offers standout collection

Students can receive discounted or free admission to the museum. Photo: Ayden Adair · The Sentry

Students can receive discounted or free admission to the museum.
Photo: Ayden Adair · The Sentry
Visits awe and relieve stress

There’s a small art gallery dedicated to American painter Clyfford Still that’s located next to the Denver Art Museum.

Still was a leader of  Abstract Impressionism during the 1950s. According to the museum’s website, he “was among the first generation of Abstract Expressionists who developed a new, powerful approach to painting in the years immediately following World War II.”  

The Clyfford Still gallery is dedicated to showcasing not only Still’s life’s work but also pieces of his past through letters and photos. 

Upon walking upstairs, one is met with a quiet and cool environment. The floors are made out of wood, and the walls are mainly white, but some are painted to look like concrete. Between the windows above and the rest of the building, there is a gray barrier with oval holes throughout that let in the light. All these parts work together to transport the visitor to the world where time seems to stand still, and normal life is far away.

The big, open spaces fit the largest art pieces well, with benches facing the centerpiece of the room.

Some paintings are visually dark such as PH-385, painted in 1949. It stands at 105 by 81 inches and contains a deep red background, black spots that take the shapes of crows, a trail of brown, and a few white spots throughout. 

Others, however, have lighter colors and themes such as his landscape and portrait work. Namely PW-8 from 1930, which is 9.5 by 12 inches, depicts a scene of a train driving down a railroad track through a rural area where only a few people are present.

Over 3,200 of Still’s pieces are held at the gallery,  and his artwork is rotated to showcase different parts of his life. 

Since Still almost exclusively created abstract art, each visit will provide new viewing experiences. As viewers interpret each painting through their current emotional state, new meanings may occur to them.

Art museums  have been noted as restorative environments by Linda Wasmer Andrews, a freelance writer and author that specializes in psychology. They are “places where people go to relax, recharge, and boost their mental and physical well-being,” Andrews said.

Furthermore, a study conducted by Heather L. Stuckey, D.Ed. and Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH, called “The connection between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature” mentions that, “there is evidence that engagement with artistic activities, either as an observer of the creative efforts of others or as an initiator of one’s own creative efforts, can enhance one’s moods, emotions, and other psychological states.” 

Students are admitted at a discounted price of $6. Friday nights from 5–8 p.m. have free admission, with the last friday of every month free all day.

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