Shade: Clyfford Still / Mark Bradford

Denver Art Museum and Clyfford Still Museum Joint Exhibitions

April 9 – July 16, 2017

csm-dam(L-R) Mark Bradford, Butch Queen (detail), 2016
Mark Bradford (American, born 1961). Photograph courtesy the artist
Clyfford Still, PH-26, 1951

The Denver Art Museum and Clyfford Still Museum unite the work of two artists separated by generations in a creative collaboration: Shade: Clyfford Still / Mark Bradford.

The 2 exhibitions include new paintings by renowned contemporary American artist Mark Bradford at the Denver Art Museum (DAM), as well as a unique presentation of Still’s work curated by Bradford at the Clyfford Still Museum (CSM). Bradford was honored in 2014 with the U.S. Department of State’s Medal of Arts and notably was recently named as the U.S. representative at the 2017 Venice Biennale.

“This exhibition takes our partnership with the Clyfford Still Museum to new heights,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. “By visiting the exhibition at DAM and CSM, visitors will gain a deeper understanding of the connection between Bradford’s work and Still’s abstractions as they relate to the legacy of abstract expressionism.” Rebecca Hart, curator of modern and contemporary art, will curate DAM’s presentation of the exhibition in the Museum’s Gallagher Family Gallery.

“The title Shade has rich implications such as to shelter from light, to be in a shadow or to add black to a hue to darken it,” said curator Hart. “Both Clyfford Still and Mark Bradford have a unique relationship to black. At a time when other Abstract Expressionist painters had vibrant palettes, Still used black to force viewers out of their comfort zones. For Bradford, the choice of black isn’t neutral; it intentionally forces us to confront conventional notions of race. Each viewer will interpret the use of black differently, hopefully evoking emotions that connect them to the works on view.”

Bradford’s curation of Still’s work at CSM will feature approximately 15 works that prominently incorporate black pigments, spanning five decades. The selection reveals Bradford’s appreciation for Still’s frequent use of black and for Still’s many evocative statements about the color, including, “Black was never a color of death and terror for me. I think of it as warm and generative.” Bradford’s curation will be featured in the Museum’s two largest galleries. This exhibition marks the Museum’s third installment of its Artists Select series, which began in 2015 with an exhibition curated by visual artist and composer Mark Mothersbaugh, and continued in early 2017 with an exhibition curated by contemporary artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel.

Bradford believes his new work for this exhibition is in dialogue with Still’s. He recalled seeing a Still painting for the first time: “What caught my eye was the insistence of his paintings. His surfaces were more raw and immediate than other abstract expressionist paintings. His paintings are not just optical—they have a very physical presence.” In comparing his studio process with Still’s, Bradford said, “My paintings are made up of tearing. To me it represents a process that is more of a reality than laying down a perfect line of paint. It’s raw and violent but it still comes together. And it’s not just a tearing that you see in Still’s paintings, it’s a collision of colors. There aren’t smooth transitions.”

Denver Art Museum
100 W 14th Ave
Denver, CO 80204

http://www.denverartmuseum.org

Clyfford Still Museum
1250 Bannock Street
Denver, CO 80204
http://clyffordstillmuseum.org

 

 


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