High Design in Denver 10

A closer look at three of Denver’s favorite museums of modern art.

Clyfford Still Museum

What You Already Know

As the name implies, this museum features the work of the late American artist, Clyfford Still. Still was a leading figure in the first generation of Abstract Expressionists. This was a new style of painting that evolved right after World War II. His non-figurative paintings largely are composed of juxtaposing different color and shapes, particularly with impasto (thick layers of paint).

What You Need To Know

For at least three decades about 95 percent of Clyfford Still’s work was hidden from the public when he decided to further himself from the art world. Although in 1978, two years before his death, Still left his collection of work and archives with his wife Patricia and stated in his will:

“I give and bequeath all the remaining works of art executed by me in my collection to an American city that will agree to build or assign and maintain permanent quarters exclusively for these works of art…”

With that being said, Patricia chose Denver in 2004 as the lucky city that would house approximately 3,200 works created by Still from 1920-1980, the majority of which had never been shown to the public eye. The museum now hosts a rotating series of his extensive work and explores his life, career and creativity.

“It was no easy feat. Many other cities failed at convincing her,” says Dean Sobel director of the Clyfford Still Museum. “In fact, the Clyfford Still Museum is the world’s most intact public collection of any major American artist. It’s possible to see small collections of Still’s work in Museums in San Francisco and New York, but there is quite literally nothing else on this planet like this museum.”

Insider Scoop

Until the end of 2015, the Clyfford Still Museum (CSM) offers free days every Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and is free all day on the last Friday of the month.

The CSM now also offers free general admission for all individuals 17 and under.

The Deets

Clyfford Still Museum

1250 Bannock St.

Denver

720.354.4880.

ClyffordStillMuseum.org

Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

What You Already Know

Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art displays a total of three collections.

  1. A large collection of international decorative from Arts & Crafts through Modern and now Postmodern (with many styles in-between).
  2. Regional and Colorado artists are shown to demonstrate the importance of Colorado art in the larger spectrum of American Art.
  3. A retrospective of Colorado’s distinguished painter, Vance Kirkland (1904-1981). Kirkland was a known driving force for the modern art movement in Colorado.

What You Need To Know

The salon style display method really makes the whole experience intimate and distinctive compared to a typical trip to a museum. The decorative art is in the same galleries as the fine art, vintage furniture is next to various vignettes, and displays are done with more than one art style making it an eclectic experience.

“For thousands of years, in castles, mansions and houses, people have placed decorative art together with fine art. Therefore it seems natural to display like this,” says Founding Director and Curator Hugh Grant.

Grant is responsible for displaying and acquiring nearly all of the pieces in the three collections at Kirkland Museum, inspired by his friendship with Vance Kirkland.

“We have a precedent: Vance Kirkland used to say, ‘I like to see what I’ve got.’ So instead of stashing many paintings and objects in his basement he hung his house and studio in salon style.”

Insider Scoop

Kirkland Museum is moving to 12th Avenue and Bannock Street in Denver’s Golden Triangle Museum District. A new 38,500-square-foot building designed by Olson Kundig will house Kirkland Museum and is projected to open in 2017.

Kirkland Museum will stay open at the current Capitol Hill location through the spring of 2016.

The Deets

Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

1311 Pearl St.

Denver

303.832.8576

KirklandMuseum.org

Please note that due to the fragile nature of the collections, Kirkland Museum limits all visitors during open hours and events to those age 13 and up. Children between the ages of 13-17 are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult.

Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

What You Already Know

Welcome to the home of everything modern in Denver. The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA Denver) features rotating exhibitions of regional, national and international artists and also has youth and adult public educational programs. The goal is to ‘promote creative experimentation with art and ideas.’

Everything about the museum is modern and you can’t miss it. Just look for the bleeding heart work of art (Toxic Schizophrenia by British artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster) located at the entrance balanced on a tall steel pole.

What You Need To Know

You need to know about the current exhibit at MCA Denver. The current exhibit, Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty, will go until January 31, 2016. The exhibit explores the life and artistic style of American painter and photographer Marilyn Minter who currently resides in New York.

Minter is a known cultural producer whose images reflect our current times (for better or worse). It’s an interesting display of the artist’s interest and evaluation of fashion, feminism and celebrity throughout her creative career.

Insider Scoop

The best part about the MCA Denver is that it’s more than just a museum, but it’s also a place where people can gather together with one of the best views of the city. That’s all thanks to the MCA Café + Bar located on the rooftop of MCA Denver. It’s where you’ll find a place for lunch, happy hour drinks or late night cocktails. Perfect for a date night.

Open: Tuesday-Thursday 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The Deets

MCA Denver

1485 Delgany St.

Denver

303.298.7554

MCADenver.org