A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about bilbao

The Guggenheim Museum

By Hannah

rain 12 °C
View Koning/Zemliak Family Europe 2012/2013 on KZFamily's travel map.

Today we went to see Bilbao's Guggenheim, a modern art museum first opened in 1997. The Guggenheim Museum is actually a masterpiece in itself, designed by Frank Gehry. Though still full of art, it was absolutely nothing like the Louvre or Musée d'Orsay. Opinions on modern art range from idolization to repulsion. Some see it as a shoddy excuse for "real art", while others enjoy trying to find the meaning behind the sculpture of the vacuum cleaner. Whatever your outlook, it's still quite an experience. Taking pictures was not generally allowed, but I'll link to some of the works throughout the post.

Bilbao: The Matter of Time by Richard Serra

Bilbao: The Matter of Time by Richard Serra

It was pouring rain this morning, and we made our way to the gallery as quickly as possible. After we had shaken off, checked our bags and equipped ourselves with audio guides, we made our way to the largest work of art in the museum: The Matter of Time, by Richard Serra. It weighs a total of 1200 tonnes, and is located in the largest room in the museum, the Fish Gallery. We were able to interact with the art, walking through the curves and spirals as we made our way to the other side of the room. It was even more impressive from above. This was probably my favourite work of art in the Guggenheim, apart from the building itself. Another large creation, though tiny in comparison, was Installation for Bilbao, by Jenny Holzer. Nine 40ft floor-to-ceiling LED strips, not unlike those used in advertising, flash scrolling messages in English, Spanish and Basque. English and Spanish are shown at the front, while Basque, the regional language, is shown at the back, representing how it used to be forbidden. Originally the messages had been written for an AIDS fundraising event, and relay messages of love and loss. Curved walls reflect the lights, and it is quite the experience standing enclosed within the walls and the LED signs.

Bilbao: Guggenheim

Bilbao: Guggenheim

From here, we moved onto the second floor, which seemed to be dedicated entirely to the artist Claes Oldenburg. His art ranged from the slightly dark and bizarre to the "would someone really pay for that?". In one room, most of the creations were made of cardboard and cloth, roughly painted and lacking in detail. However, the next room was, in my opinion, much worse. Well, perhaps I shouldn't be so harsh. I looked him up after our visit, and found that many of his outdoor sculptures far outstrip the gallery of his we saw today. Still, we weren't altogether impressed. Apparent gems such as Floor Cake and Big White Shirt with Blue Tie didn't quite do it for us. Many of the pieces looked downright ugly, in my opinion. But we decided not to write him off entirely, and continued on through the exhibit, coming to the Mouse Museum and Ray Gun Wing. The Ray Gun Wing was filled with various interpretations of ray guns, hence the name. A collection of everything from plastic toys to bent pop can tabs to a curved piece of rope (which Abby didn't think should count) was contained within a dark, gun-shaped box/room. The Mouse Museum was also shaped like a giant mouse head, and full of trivial, everyday objects and toys, as well as a few prototypes for his sculptures. Again, we were slightly nonplussed. Needless to say, Oldenburg is not our favourite artist.

After all the cloth plugs, mouse heads and cardboard cut-outs, it was a bit of a relief to enter the pop art gallery. We saw the famous Andy Warhol's One Hundred and Fifty Multicoloured Marilyns, as well as Gilbert and George's Waking and James Rosenquist's Flamingo Capsule. I found these much more interesting and beautiful than any of Oldenburg's creations. My favourite of these was Barge by Robert Rauschenberg. It was a small but captivating collection.

There was a temporary exhibition of Egon Schiele's work, an Austrain Expressionist with a distinctive style. The approximately 100 drawings and paintings depict flowers, children, landscapes, nudes, and self-portraits. Some of the pieces look unfinished and sketchy, while others are daubed with dark colours and sharply outlined. Though not exactly pretty, one could still see the appeal of these slightly grotesque and twisted images. He has an interesting but short life story, and produced an amazing quantity of art throughout his lifetime.

Bilbao: Puppy

Bilbao: Puppy

We finished our visit feeling as though our look into the peculiar and eccentric world of modern art was definitely worthwhile. There were a few outdoor sculptures as well, such as the massive and adorable topiary Puppy and the metal spider dubbed Maman, which is actually one of seven spiders all over the world. We recognized it, as it matched the one we'd seen outside the National Gallery in Ottawa. Back home, we a sort of lunch/dinner that was finished off with, what else, pastries in the form of cream-filled croissants. We seem to have managed to keep the pastry thing up, even though we've left France behind. As a final summation of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, I would recommend it to those with an open mind and an appreciation for the out of the ordinary.

Posted by KZFamily 23:59 Archived in Spain Tagged bilbao guggenheim Comments (4)

Bilbao

By Abby

overcast 13 °C
View Koning/Zemliak Family Europe 2012/2013 on KZFamily's travel map.

This morning Hannah and I were awoken by bright lights and people banging around. But I guess things like that come with the benefit of having the bathroom attached to your bedroom. This interruption of a warm sleep started at around 8:30, and continued until we were ordered to get up an hour later. When I got out of bed I saw my parents were already dressed and they were packing their bags and putting on their shoes. I was promptly notified that they were heading to the grocery store, because it closed at noon and they were feeling kind and wanted to let us have dinner. When they came back Hannah and I were fed, watered and clothed and helped unpack groceries.

Bilbao Out to eat Pinxto

Bilbao Out to eat Pinxto

When we did leave the apartment, at around eleven o'clock, we were greeted by a sprinkle of rain as well as crowds of people. The rain was on and off for the next while as we searched the streets for a place to eat lunch. By 12:30 we found a small, empty cafe and decided that we might as well see what they offered. That morning my parents had heard about a popular food called a pintxo. My dad ordered one of these foreign snacks, which turned out to basically be a croquet-like substance and "ham" on a piece of bread, skewered with a toothpick. Hannah, my mom and I all got variations of the same thing, which here is called a tortilla. They were made of potatoes, onions and eggs, Hannah's topped with tuna, and my mom's topped with crab. I went simple with no topping. We ended up getting two more pintxos to share amongst us, as they are quite small. Everyone but me liked them, this is probably because I don't like croquettes or ham.

Bilbao Guggenheim

Bilbao Guggenheim

After this we continued our walk and went to look at the Guggenheim (goo-gen-hime) museum from the outside (you'll hear more of this in an upcoming entry). If you've ever been to the National Gallery in Ottawa, you would have noticed straight away that there was a familiar sculpture outside. We, being the intelligent and informed people we are, did notice this at once. The sculpture was of a large spider with spindly legs and a teeming egg sack. When we had seen it the first time in Ottawa, we wondered if we were to come back and see it again if there would be baby spiders crawling around its feet. We were, sadly, wrong. But after this severe disappointment we went on walking and stumbled upon a massive playground, made up mostly of roped jungle gyms. My parents, as you probably know, are children at heart and immediately ran and started to play. Hannah, being the mature teenager she is, promptly went and informed them of the age limit, which was fifteen. Eventually they got down, but Hannah and I saw no reason why we had to and stayed there for another 25 minutes while my parents went on a walk so that they would not have to hide their jealousy of our youth. Although you might be thinking that it was unfair that Hannah, being one year over the limit, was allowed to stay on the playground while my parents were forced off, we all agreed that she would be able to pass as a fifteen year old. Plus we were the only ones there. But play time must always come to an end, and when my parents came back they wrenched us from the ropes, leaving us with painful, dislocated shoulders.

Bilbao Funicular de Artxanda

Bilbao Funicular de Artxanda

After this we went home for a bathroom break and a snack, but soon left again for a funicular, a type of train. Our funicular led up a hill to a landing that had a spectacular view of the city. We stayed for about fifteen minutes, then ran to get the front car for the way back. But this ended today's adventures, as from there we walked home, stopping halfway to pick up some pastries (obviously) for dessert. For dinner we had fajitas/burritos/tacos...whatever you want to call them, really. They were actually quite tasty, I had three. The pastries, on the other hand, we a little disappointing. But I wasn't too sad, after all, I did eat more than my fair share of dinner. So I just ate off the chocolate topping of the cookie, and sucked out the cream from the croissant-like pastry. But, all things considered, it was a good day, and I'm excited for tomorrow, but I'm more excited for tonight...because I get to sleep.
Bilbao Dessert

Bilbao Dessert

Posted by KZFamily 11:07 Archived in Spain Tagged bilbao guggenheim pinxto pincho Comments (5)

(Entries 1 - 2 of 2) Page [1]