The Spanish Language Blog

In northern Spain lies the Basque city of Bilbao, the capital of the province of Biscay. The city is known for being one of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela, but mostly because it boasts one of the world-famous Guggenheim museums. 'Museo Guggenheim de Bilbao' belongs to the famous Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation alongside the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, the Guggenheim in New York and the Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi. According to many, the Guggenheim museums are the most important museums for modern art and are often at the top of art lovers' lists.

  • The so-called "Bilbao effect" represents the fact that one building can attract so many visitors to a somewhat less popular city.
  • The Bilbao Guggenheim Museum is the most famous building in the Basque Country in Spain.
  • From the city side, the building looks like a silver flower, but from the other side it looks like a large sailing ship.

In 1997, the Guggenheim Bilbao opened its doors to the public. The works of art exhibited range from pop art to Picasso. The permanent Guggenheim collections are most focused on the modern art and plastic art of the 20th century such as Salvador Dalí, René Magritte and Andy Warhol and are spread throughout the four museums.

Guggenheim museums are known for their impressive architectural buildings. For example, the Guggenheim in New York resembles a futuristic teacup with one big long spiral upward where you can occasionally take a turn to a room, rather than changing floors by stairs. The building in Bilbao resembles a large sailing ship and was designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, who represents deconstructivism. Deconstructivism is modern architecture that assumes that modern society is confusing and uncertain and shows this in its structures. The Guggenheim Bilbao certainly shows this as well. The building is composed mostly of scaly titanium plates that allow the building to shine for up to 100 years due to the reflection of sunlight. To still protect the many works of art from the heat and sunlight, numerous glass walls have been constructed. The building also gives the impression that it could collapse at any moment - the effect of deconstructivism.

The Guggenheim in Bilbao is among the most famous museums in Spain, along with the Prado in Madrid and the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. The Guggenheim Bilbao is a great success and can be seen as the proof that a building is capable of putting an entire city on the map. This is also known as the "Bilbao effect. Bilbao as a city itself is not a tourist attraction, but because of the Guggenheim Museum, it still attracts very many visitors. For modern art lovers, the Guggenheim in Bilbao is one of the more important and interesting museums in Europe, and the building outside alone is breathtaking.

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