On our way across northern Spain we drove through Bilbao, the home of the Guggenheim Museum. We had several hours to spend exploring this extraordinary contemporary building.
Again, Northern Spain looks a lot like Oregon.
In my opinion, the modern art (no pictures) plays second fiddle to the building, designed by architect Frank Gehry and opened in 1997.
This big Puppy, a giant topiary, greets you in the plaza in front of the museum. Originally intended to be temporary, the community loved it so much that they bought it. The artist was Jeff Koons.
The museum is all glass, titanium, limestone and space! Because of the complexity, the curves in these materials were designed with the aid of computers.
The stunning atrium (180 feet) is the heart of the building. There are 20 galleries on three floors. Most of the exhibits are temporary. The collection rotates among the three Guggenheim galleries in Bilbao, NY and Venice.
The building was inspired by silvery fish and evokes wind-filled sails.
“Tulips” are another piece by Jeff Koons.
“Tall Tree and the Eye” by Anish Kapoor is 73 reflective spheres.
This spider, called “Mamam”, is by French artist Louise Bourgeois. It depicts her mother (a weaver) spinning a delicate web of life. ??? Kind of creepy…..
Yoko Ono has created a piece called a Wish Tree. It is inspired by the Japanese tradition of hanging prayers from a plant. This installation alternates between periods when visitors can write down their wishes and when they can whisper them to the tree. We whispered.
The museum was built on the bank of the Nervion River in Bilbao. The museum’s terrace pool incorporates the river into the museum. It’s a fabulous setting.
The Guggenheim in Bilbao was more than we expected and we are so glad we made the stop!