The Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao
The Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao is the city’s most emblematic monument. A visit to Bilbao wouldn’t be complete without at least strolling by and admiring it from the outside.
This spectacular shimmering building on the bank of the Nervión river is itself a piece of art. Designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, the museum is considered one of the premier examples of contemporary architecture, and has been hailed as a “signal moment in the architectural culture”.
Construction on the Museum began in 1991 when the Basque government offered to fund a Guggenheim museum with the intention of renovating the area of the Bilbao port that had fallen into disrepair but had once been the city’s main source of income. The museum finally opened its doors on 18 October 1997 and was inaugurated by the King, Juan Carlos I of Spain.
The Guggenheim Museum is home to over 250 contemporary works of art and features permanent and visiting exhibits of works by international and national artists alike. It is also the third-largest museum in Spain behind the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofía.
It is said that there are several ways to visit the Museum. The first one is from the outside. The building itself is an amazing, gigantic sculpture. It changes during the day, and there is no single angle that is the same as the next. The exterior of the Museum is adorned with different sculptures and there are always street performers and vendors surrounding the Museum making the outside of the Guggenheim an experience onto itself.
The reason why the building changes during the day is because of the effect of light and the titanium Frank Gehry used on the exterior of the building. As the light changes during the day, so does the colors reflected by the Museums exterior.
Permanent exhibits include works from some of the most influential artists of the second half of the XX century such as Eduardo Chillida, Yves Klein, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Clyfford Still, Antoni Tàpies and Andy Warhol.
In addition to the permanent exhibition, the museum offers a wide variety of different experiences that come and go including festivals, concerts, conferences, and workshops.