Everybody talks about the Guggenheim art museum in Bilbao. Designed by Frank Gehry, the same guy who gave us the Experience Music Project (now MoPop) in Seattle, the Guggenheim has garnered accolades for its design.
In its short lifetime, the museum has joined a rarified list of places that folks feel they need to see: the Empire State Building, the Sydney Opera House, the Tower of London. You get the idea.
So let’s start with a few photos of the exterior. This is easier said than done because the building is big and varied, and it’s hard to get far enough away to get a complete view. Instead, we walked around the whole of it, taking photos of interesting “slices”.
These stairs lead down to the main entrance.
A lot of the building is covered in titanium “fish scales”.
There’s an outdoor art work called “Fog” that fires off periodically.
Art inspires art, I guess. The nearby bridge does its bit.
The spider-like piece is titled “Mother”. Contrary to what you might think, it was a compliment.
So, what’s inside? Well, a lot of art and some restaurants, one with a Michelin star. Let me show you a few things that I particularly liked. You may notice a theme: bright colors and shiny objects attract me. I have this in common with crows.
You walk into, around, through, these pieces. They are intended to make you think about time passing as you do.
This piece is made of liquor bottle tops stitched together. The choice of medium and the message escaped me. I think it has something to do with pollution.
Shiny, but not Koons. This piece is called “Clouds”.
A special exhibit.
I’ll finish with a few things we saw while strolling around the outside of the museum. The Flower Dog is also by Jeff Koons.
So, the Guggenheim. Everyone seems to like it. It’s a cool-looking building for sure, inside and out.
But I don’t think it’s a very good art museum. A lot of the interior is wasted space, there aren’t that many galleries, and the building itself draws attention away from the art.
In my book, the New York Guggenheim by Frank Lloyd-Wright is a better example of genius architecture that serves rather than shouts over its intended use.