Downtown Museums and Galleries
Clyfford Still Museum
1250 Bannock St., Downtown
Clyfford Still sold very few of his paintings when he was alive, believing that they were best shown only alongside his other paintings, under very specific conditions. When he passed away in 1980, he left his entire estate (which represented more than 95% of his total output) to whichever city would mount a permanent museum devoted to his work. The city of Denver was selected to receive the collection in 2004, and in 2011 opened a Brad Cloepfil-designed building to house the collection and rotating exhibitions of Still's artwork. Strolling through the rooms filled with Still's toweringly big pieces is unlike anything else—and something you truly can only experience in Denver.
The Denver Art Museum
100 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy., Downtown
Denver's big encyclopedic museum (which has more than 70,000 works in 10 permanent collections) is one of the biggest museums between Chicago and the West Coast. The museum itself is made up of two architecturally significant buildings: the 1971 Gio Ponti-designed North Building, covered in more than one million shimmering gray tiles and the modernist designer's only completed work in North America, and the dramatic and iconic Daniel Libeskind building, reminiscent of the Rocky Mountains, with sharp angles jutting out from the center in every direction. They always have a few selections on display from the permanent collection, but you can also see major traveling exhibitions here—a few of their recent blockbusters have included an exhibition of Star Wars costumes, a exhaustive collection of vintage Cartier jewelry, and a selection of Van Gogh works in an exhibition titled Passport to Paris.
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