(HE)ART PLACES / BILBAO (BASQUE COUNTRY, SPAIN): THE SPECTACULAR GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM (AND AN UNFORGETTABLE CY TWOMBLY’S EXHIBITION)

In Bilbao (Basque Country, Spain) I visited the incredible Guggenheim Museum, where I saw stunning art installations and masterpieces (unfortunately, the Jeff Koon’s Puppy was packed up for restoration). It’s all the whole building to fascinate in its unmistakable style. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao has become the cultural and tourism driving force of the Basque Country. This spectacular building – designed by Frank O. Gehry, 1997 – is covered in titanium panels and has its own important collection, as well as sharing the largest private modern and contemporary art collection in the world with New York and Venice.

I saw there (January 2009) an unforgettable exhibition: the tribute to american artist Cy Twombly, who died in Rome in 2011. Organized in the occasion of the 80 years of the artist, the Cy Twombly exhibition featured focused groups of related paintings, drawings and sculpture, multipark works, and works in series, highlighting the artist’s use of themes of classical art. The Guggenheim Bilbao magazine dedicated its cover to Cy Twombly’s masterpiece “Wilder Shores of Love” (1985).

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, at that time, had just acquired the series “Nine Discourses on Commodus” (1963), the work around which the exhibition was designed. It consisted in nine distinct canvases and was the first of the artist’s series to be conceived as a unified whole. That beautiful and unforgettable exhibition featured Twombly’s work in series, including the earlier five-canvases “Ferragosto” (1961) which can be viewed as individual paintings. Other important series included in the exhibition were “Hero and Leandro” (1984) and “Quattro Stagioni” (1993-94).

Cy Twombly ‘s artworks offered a closer look at the spirit of a marvelous artist who “not only irradiates a fascinating personal magic, but has also taken us to the most intricate frontiers of contemporary painting”. I had the permission – as a reporter – to take a few pictures, that I have the pleasure to share in the photo-gallery.

Always in Bilbao I visited the Fine Arts Museum which is one of the best in Spain and has a complete and priceless art gallery with three collections: old art (El Greco, Zurbarán, Goya or Van Dyck), contemporary art (Gauguin, Bacon or Tàpies) and Basque art (Regoyos, Zuloaga or Iturrino).

The Basque Museum includes Basque prehistory and archaeology; the Diocesan Museum of Religious Art and the Easter Pasos Museum hold religious works connected with Bizkaia. Other museums in Bilbao are the Maritime Museum and the Bullfighting Museum. The Rekalde exhibition hall holds top class contemporary art exhibitions. There are also about twenty other galleries with permanent  plastic art exhibitions.

ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI 

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7 responses to “(HE)ART PLACES / BILBAO (BASQUE COUNTRY, SPAIN): THE SPECTACULAR GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM (AND AN UNFORGETTABLE CY TWOMBLY’S EXHIBITION)

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