Rising high along the banks of the Nervion River sits the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Its titanium, limestone, and glass façade bends and twists reminiscent of billowing ship masts that once populated the waterway during the city’s industrial age. Bilbao, the largest city in Spain’s Basque Country, was once an industrial center. Since the museum’s opening in 1997, the city has transformed itself into a cultural mecca of art and design.
An artistic and architectural triumph, the building itself is one of Frank Gehry’s most astonishing architectural feats. Housing masterpieces within its walls, the area surrounding the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is full of monuments and sculptures that beckon visitors to explore. Tourists are delighted to discover numerous pieces of outdoor art as they wander Bilbao’s streets, parks, and plazas. It’s no wonder why art enthusiasts travel near and far to discover its pleasures. Let’s explore some of its most famous installations neighboring the Guggenheim Museum together!
A 40-foot-tall West Highland terrier covered in seasonal flowers stands outside the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Designed by Jeff Koons, Puppy stands guard while enchanting visitors with its display of nearly 38,000 flowers.
Designed by French American artist, Louise Bourgeois, the giant spider towering over 30 feet high can be seen across the Nervion from the La Salve Bridge. Made of bronze, marble, and steel, its spindly legs seem to be scurrying along the terrace outside the Guggenheim.
Consisting of five fountains of fire, this installation, envisioned by French artist, Yves Klein, is awe-inspiring. The fountains light up the river outside the Guggenheim nightly.
Displayed at the museum’s rear, is another Jeff Koons creation. Tulips are comprised of seven giant-colored balloon-shaped flowers. These stems measure nearly 16 feet in length and seem as in flight.
This sculpture designed by Indian artist, Anish Kapoor, consists of 73 reflective spheres rising 13 feet high. The orbs beautifully reflect images of the Guggenheim, La Salve Bridge, and the river itself.
Erected as part of the Guggenheim’s 10th anniversary, Arcos Rojos by Daniel Buren is a perpendicular sculpture rising high above the La Salve Bridge which is located just outside the museum. Its red color makes this an unforgettable landmark within Bilboa
These installations are only a sampling of the magnificent creations on display in Bilbao. To fully immerse yourself in Bilbao’s culture and art scene, you must spend time visiting and enjoying all the city has to offer. Find out why the city of Bilbao has gained an international reputation as an architectural and artistic mecca.
While enjoying your day exploring art, take time to sample the city’s cuisine. Bilbao is home to a plethora of bars and restaurants serving pintxos and other delights. Pintxos are Basque Country’s version of tapas. Each creation is served on bread topped with seafood, Bayonne ham, cheese or Spanish croquette. An abundance of fresh seafood, local vegetables and herbs are often featured ingredients in pinxtos and other dishes such as paella. Finish the meal with a delicious glass of Rioja wine.
For further information, please contact the Tourist Office of Spain at www.spain.info.
Images courtesy of Turespaña