For the ultimate in unique architecture and art, head for Bilbao this summer.
If you happen to be city breaking in Bilbao over the summer months, it’s more than a little certain that one of your sightseeing essentials will be the futuristic-looking landmark that is the unmistakable and utterly unique Guggenheim Museum. For many, an exterior photo opportunity of Frank Gehry’s architectural masterpiece will more than suffice before moving on to enjoy the other many sights that Bilbao has to offer.
And yet, venture inside the undulating titanium, glass and limestone outer shell and you’ll be met with a world-class collection of modern and contemporary art spanning the mid-20th century (its earliest work is a 1952 untitled piece by Mark Rothko) to the present day, with an emphasis on post-war painting and sculpture in America and Europe. Starting with a 1952 untitled work by Mark Rothko, the collection features a wealth of works by world-class names in the sphere of modern and contemporary art including Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Yves Klein, Anselm Kiefer, Robert Motherwell and Gilbert and George.
Complementing the permanent collection even further is the museum’s schedule of temporary exhibitions and in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou in Paris and New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, a retrospective devoted to the work of the American artist, Jeff Koons opens tomorrow. In the words of the Guggenheim itself “the unique, unmistakable, innovative work of Jeff Koons has made him one of the most prominent figures of the art of our time. Lacking the aura of inaccessibility that surrounds other contemporary works of art, his instantly recognizable creations appeal to the general public and draw on countless art historical sources, such as Surrealism, Pop Art, and Dada. Koons has a unique style that allows seemingly contradictory concepts to coexist harmoniously in his work.”
On display will be some of Koons’ most well-known pieces including his 1986 stainless steel Rabbit (on loan from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago) and his gold and white porcelain piece Michael Jackson and Bubbles, dating from 1988. There’s also the distinctive 1992 Puppy, comprising stainless steel, soil and flowering plants and 1999 Loopy oil painting.
Running through the summer until September 27th, the Guggenheim Museum and ‘Jeff Koons: A Retrospective’ exhibition are open from 10am until 8pm Tuesday to Sunday (closed Mondays except in July and August). Entrance costs 8€ (5€ seniors and students under 26 years of age; children are free).