Immersive Installation of Sculptures and Drawings by Allied Works Architecture Spotlights Rarely Seen Aspect of Firm’s Creative Practice

Major Traveling Exhibition Premieres at Denver Art Museum in January 2016 Before Embarking on Two-Year International Tour

The first comprehensive exhibition exploring the sculptures and drawings of Allied Works Architecture debuts at the Denver Art Museum (DAM) on January 24, 2016. Presented within an immersive installation designed by Allied Works, the exhibition features a cross-section of over 60 works made over the past 15 years, the majority of which have never been presented publicly. A counterpoint to the customary building models and technical architectural renderings, these works are both singular artistic creations and manifestations of the investigative process that is at the heart of the firm’s practice. Organized by the Clyfford Still Museum and the Portland Art Museum in association with Allied Works, Case Work: Studies in Form, Space & Construction by Allied Works Architecture will be on view in Denver through April 17, 2016. It will subsequently be presented in Portland from June 4 through September 4, 2016, before embarking on a two-year international tour.

Left: Resonant Vessels, 2009. Created from salvaged brass instruments and cast concrete during the conceptual design phase of the National Music Centre in Calgary. Right: Rendering of Resonant Vessels as it will be displayed in its custom-built “case” in Case Work. Both images courtesy Allied Works Architecture.

Case Work highlights a little-known part of Allied Works’ practice—namely the handmade works of art developed to articulate, inform and accelerate the firm’s creative vision,” explained exhibition curator Dean Sobel, a specialist in modern and contemporary art and the director of the Clyfford Still Museum, which was designed by Allied Works. “These sculptures and drawings are a pivotal part of the investigative process that distinguishes the firm’s approach. At the same time, these works are complete artworks in their own right, hidden gems that crystallize and convey core ideas or conceptual intentions.”

One of the few U.S. art museums with an architecture and design department, the DAM is a fitting host for the exhibition’s debut, where the department’s Curator of Architecture, Design and Graphics Darrin Alfred is providing local curatorial support. The museum’s Frederic C. Hamilton Building is directly adjacent to the Clyfford Still Museum, the design for which earned Allied Works a 2013 Design Award, 2012 Honor Award, and 2012 Craftsmanship Award from regional chapters of the American Institute of Architects.

“This exhibition marks yet another opportunity to partner with our neighbors at Clyfford Still just as we’ve been able to in the past with exhibitions such as Modern Masters,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. “I’m particularly excited to highlight the innovative work of one of the most interesting contemporary architecture firms in the country, Allied Works.”

Established by Brad Cloepfil in 1994, Allied Works Architecture has been widely recognized for crafting powerful spaces for art and interaction, and for developing architectural designs that are forged by the defining elements of their mission and site. Case Work marks the first time that the public will be able to view the artistic explorations of material, form, and spatial experience that have guided the firm’s architectural designs, including both realized buildings as well as projects that have yet to take shape.

The exhibition presents 17 of the firm’s bold and tactile architectural sculptures, made from wood, porcelain, resin, concrete, and collaged textiles, alongside material and structural studies. More than 40 drawings, ranging from gestural sketches to large-scale charcoal and pastel drawings, will also be on view. The works are integrated within a bespoke presentation system—a linear steel armature designed by Allied Works as a conceptual model, enlarged to life size, that can be adapted and reconfigured at each venue. Visitors will move through the installation to encounter a series of unique, custom-built “cases,” designed to reflect the specific qualities inherent in the works they enclose and present. Each case serves a dual function of transporting the objects from venue to venue, enabling a literal “unpacking” of ideas within the exhibition space.

Highlighted works include:

  • Embedded Space: Carved from a single reclaimed beam of Douglas fir, the work represents the desire for a singular, unified experience across structure, landscape and earth within the building that would become the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver.
  • Resonant Vessels: Comprised of concrete cast around salvaged pieces of different brass musical instruments, the smooth, geometric forms speak to the sheer variety of musical expression while simultaneously referencing modernist sculpture. Resonant Vessels was created as part of the conceptual design phase for the National Music Centre of Canada.
  • Quilted Landscape: Wooden bits, porcelain and sawed colored pencil are collaged to create a quilt-like effect, inspired by aerial views of the Wisconsin farmland and created for the firm’s Wisconsin Art Preserve proposal.
  • Boundless Figure: This assemblage of acrylic, cast resin, polished brass and charred pine evokes a transparent form extending into a landscape, only to be forced to turn back in on itself, held within the earth’s black embrace. Boundless Figure was created during the conceptual design phase for the Dutchess County Estate Main House in New York State.
  • Braided Space: An interlocking brass structure imbued with movement, snaking across the landscape and binding the form to its site. Braided Space was created during the preliminary process of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec design competition.

“Since first launching Allied Works in Portland in 1994, Brad has been celebrated for creating timeless and beautifully executed works of architecture,” said Brian Ferriso, The Marilyn H. and Dr. Robert B. Pamplin, Jr. Director of the Portland Art Museum, which co-organized the exhibition with the Clyfford Still Museum. “This exhibition provides audiences with an unusual opportunity to explore the conceptual sculptures and gestural drawings that underpin Brad’s creative practice and that embody the firm’s unique approach and standing within the field.”

About Allied Works Architecture

Allied Works Architecture is a 40-person practice led by Brad Cloepfil from offices in Portland, Oregon, and New York City. Guided by principles of craft and innovation, Allied Works creates designs that resonate with their specificity of place and purpose. The firm’s practice is grounded in the belief that architecture provides meaningful new insight into its surrounding physical and ideological landscapes. Using a research-based approach, Allied Works distills the elemental principles that drive each of their projects and transforms these into material, shape and structure—architectural designs that engage public imagination and amplify a city’s cultural legacy.

Founded in 1994, Allied Works is widely recognized for its cultural projects, among them the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, Colorado; the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; the Museum of Arts and Design in New York; Seattle Art Museum; the University of Michigan Museum of Art; Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in the Dallas Arts District; and the Schnitzer Center for Art and Design at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon. Allied Works has also designed and completed private residences, offices, and creative workspaces, such its design for Wieden + Kennedy Agency, which radically transformed an historic warehouse in Portland’s Pearl District into a world headquarters that has become a benchmark for adaptive reuse and workplace architecture; the Dutchess County Estate in Stanfordville, New York; and Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California.

Major current projects include the National Music Centre of Canada, in Calgary, Alberta, which will be completed in 2016; a U.S. Embassy compound in Maputo, Mozambique; the Veterans’ Memorial Museum in Columbus, Ohio; and studio and production spaces for Theory and Helmut Lang in New York City.

Exhibition Catalogue

The exhibition will be accompanied by a 64-page, full-color catalogue, published by Metropolis Books and distributed by D.A.P. (Distributed Art Publishers), including essays by Dean Sobel and Brad Cloepfil.

Exhibition Organizers, Credits, and Tour

Organized by the Clyfford Still Museum and the Portland Art Museum in association with Allied Works Architecture, Case Work: Studies in Form, Space & Construction by Allied Works Architecture is curated by Dean Sobel, Director of the Clyfford Still Museum. The exhibition is supported by The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

The exhibition premieres at the Denver Art Museum (Jan. 24, 2016–April 17, 2016) and will be presented at the Portland Art Museum (June 4–Sept. 4, 2016), before embarking on a two-year international tour.

ABOUT THE CLYFFORD STILL MUSEUM

Home to the world’s most intact public collection of a major American artist, the Clyfford Still Museum opened in November of 2011 to promote public and scholarly understanding of the life and work of Clyfford Still (1904–80). Considered one of the most important painters of the 20th century, Still was among the first generation of Abstract Expressionist artists who developed a new, powerful approach to painting in the years following World War II. The Museum was designed by Allied Works Architecture, which received the 2013 Design Award, 2012 Honor Award, and 2012 Craftsmanship Award from regional chapters of the American Institute of Architects for the project. For more information, call 720-354-4880 or visit clyffordstillmuseum.org.

ABOUT THE PORTLAND ART MUSEUM

The seventh-oldest museum in the United States, the Portland Art Museum is internationally recognized for its permanent collection and ambitious special exhibitions drawn from the Museum’s holdings and the world’s finest public and private collections. The Museum’s collection of more than 45,000 objects, displayed in 112,000 square feet of galleries, reflects the history of art from ancient times to today. The collection is distinguished for its holdings of arts of the native peoples of North America, English silver, and the graphic arts. An active collecting institution dedicated to preserving great art for the enrichment of future generations, the Museum devotes 90 percent of its galleries to its permanent collection. The Museum’s campus of landmark buildings, a cornerstone of Portland’s cultural district, includes the Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art, the Gilkey Center for Graphic Arts, the Schnitzer Center for Northwest Art, the Northwest Film Center, and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Center for Native American Art. For information, call 503-226-2811 or visit portlandartmuseum.org.

ABOUT THE CURATOR

Dean Sobel is the director of the Clyfford Still Museum. A specialist in modern and contemporary art, Sobel has organized over 60 exhibitions of international contemporary art, including dozens of one-artist retrospectives and projects. From 2000 through 2005, Sobel was director of the Aspen Art Museum and, from 1995 through 2000, served as Chief Curator at the Milwaukee Art Museum, where he held the joint position of Curator of Contemporary Art.

ABOUT THE DENVER ART MUSEUM

The Denver Art Museum is an educational, non-profit resource that sparks creative thinking and expression through transformative experiences with art. Its holdings reflect the city and region—and provide invaluable ways for the community to learn about cultures from around the world. Denver metro citizens support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a unique funding source serving hundreds of metro Denver arts, culture and scientific organizations. Since its founding in 1893, the Denver Art Museum has amassed more than 68,000 works of art, one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of world art between Chicago and the West Coast. Home to one of the few architecture and design departments in a U.S. museum, the DAM maintains a collection of 12,000 objects of architecture, design, and graphics and has housed the AIGA Design Archives since 1980. For museum information, call 720-865-5000 or visit denverartmuseum.org.

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Media Contacts:

John Eding, Clyfford Still Museum: john@clyffordstillmuseum.org, 720-354-4875

Shadia Lemus, Denver Art Museum: slemus@denverartmuseum.org, 720-913-0096