Art News

Clyfford Still Museum Appoints Joyce Tsai as New Director

Joyce Tsai is the new director of the Clyfford Still Museum.
Mei-Ling Shaw
Joyce Tsai is the new director of the Clyfford Still Museum.
The Clyfford Still Museum just announced that curator Joyce Tsai will become the institution's second director; she'll start the job in August.

Tsai currently serves as chief curator at the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art, where she also works in the university's School of Art and Art History.

“Over the last fifteen years, Joyce Tsai has grown in stature as a curator and a scholar,” notes Christopher Hunt, the Still's board president, in a statement announcing the hire. “Tsai brings a rich mix of knowledge and expertise to the position of CSM director. We are excited to bring her in at the beginning of our tenth-anniversary season, and we look forward to what she will do for the museum in its next decade.”

The Still, which is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the work of Clyfford Still, the great abstract expressionist, is one of Denver's most innovative museums, offering cutting-edge music and film programming, provocative conversations about art and art history, and uncanny and consistently innovative approaches in looking at Still's body of work while keeping his ideas fresh in a contemporary-art context.

Tsai is following Still founder Dean Sobel, who left his position as museum director last September in order to join the staff at the University of Denver as an associate professor of the practice of art history and museum studies.

Tsai's first book, László Moholy-Nagy: Painting After Photography, was published in 2018. In it, she looks at Hungarian painter and photographer Moholy-Nagy and explores why an artist would paint in the photographic age, as well as the relationship between painting, politics and technology. 

She will no doubt bring a scholarly approach to her role as director of the Still, but also a commitment to the avant-garde and placing art in its social context.

“I am honored to lead the Clyfford Still Museum at this pivotal moment, building upon a decade of innovation and excellence,” Tsai said in the museum statement on her appointment. “I look forward to working collaboratively with the extraordinary staff to catalyze new ways of seeing, learning and making with the museum and its exceptional collection. I am thrilled to cultivate approaches to Still’s work that enable new audiences to connect with the artwork.”