Home Magazine Summer Art Guide Bilbao. Three unmissable contemporary art spaces

Like every summer, we are ready to guide you on the most beautiful exhibitions around the world. This time we are in the North of Spain, in the largest city of the Basque Country: Bilbao. After 1997 (which is the year of the Frank Gehry Guggenheim Museum opening) the city saw an incredible urban development, that now leads it been one of the most cutting-edge centres in Spain and Europe. Today we will bring you inside three super interesting art spaces: Azkuna Zentroa, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum and the already mentioned Guggenheim. 

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Azkuna Zentroa 

"Discovering an object or place designed by Philippe Starck, it's like enter into a world of intense imagination, fertile surprises and phantasmagoria".

Placed in the Ensanche de Albia quarter in a modernist early 20th-century building of the architect Ricardo Bastida in 1905, the Azkuna Zentroa - Alhóndiga Bilbao is the Bilbao Society and Contemporary Culture. Characterized by the evident contrast of the classic external facade and interior tribute to worldwide cultures, the centre is divided into 6 programmer lines: Contemporary Art, Live Arts, Film & Audio-visuals, Society, Digital Culture and Literature. They all dialogue among each other to generate an expanded multiple hybrid programme, which favours the everyday nature of that which is contemporary, with mediation and education as channels to generate critical knowledge and transform society through art and artists. In this context born "Never Real / Always True", from March 14 to September 22 2019. Curated by Iván da la Nuez the exhibition, is a reflection on the narrative possibilities of art and ultimately the construction of common space to host that adventure. It’s a book of books, a story in plain sight and in real-time. «Never real and always true» is also the exhibition motto inspired by Antonin Artaud as a metaphor of a symbiosis between art and literature, that is also the connection between the thirteen participating artists: Alicia Kopf, Valérie Mréjen, Guillem Nadal, Joan Fontcuberta, Kurt Caviezel, Mani Revuelta, Glenda León, Oier Etxeberria, Xabier Salaberria, Verónica Gerber Bicecci, Cristina De Middle, Gonzalo Elvira and Kiko Faxas. Read more...

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Joan Fontcuberta. Courtesy by Azkuna Zentroa 

Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

In occasion of its 110th anniversary, the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum is now presenting the alphabet exhibition "ABC" sponsored by BBK and curated by the writer Kirmen Uribe (born Ondarroa, Vizcaya, 1970). We are in front of an unprecedented type of exhibition that it's occupying the entire Old Building following the major redesign of its interior space undertaken in the past few months. Inspired by the literary curatorship of Kirmen Uribe, the exhibition's starting point is an original idea through which the museum is intending to combine the remodelling of its galleries with a new form of presenting the collection to visitors. The aim of the show is changing the traditional criteria for displaying works – chronologically or through schools of art and artists – for replace them by follow an extended alphabet that includes 26 letters plus the "ñ" and the "ll" used in Spanish and the Basque digraphs "ts", "tx" and "tz". The exhibition brings together works that are habitually on display in the galleries but which are now shown alongside artistic objects that have only rarely been seen and which are usually kept in storage. The exhibition thus includes some of the best-known works and artists in the collection (Lucas Cranach the Elder, José de Ribera, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Francisco de Zurbarán, Martin de Vos, Orazio Gentileschi, Francisco de Goya, Paul Gauguin, Mary Cassatt, Ignacio Zuloaga, Joaquín Sorolla, Eduardo Chillida, Jorge Oteiza, Francis Bacon and Antoni Tàpies, among many others); as well as photographs by Alberto Schommer and Gabriele Basilico; graphic work by Joseph Beuys and David Hockney; a 2nd-century AD stone bust from Palmyra; and the exquisite group of Japanese works of art from the Palacio-Arechabaleta bequest. Read more...

Z --> Zubi/Bridge
The bridge is always a meeting place, right there is where people gather: friends, lovers, storytellers, vendors. A bridge unites thing: it joins the two ends, it joins people. That's why, in wartime, the first things destroyed are the bridges.


Installation view. Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Always ready to excite visitors with its Wonderfull structure, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao enchants people also thanks extraordinary shows. This summer there's plenty of choices... By leaving aside the permanent collection that counts iconic works by Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, Yves Klein, Andy Warhol or Jean Michel Basquiat (just to name a few); until this fall will be possible enjoy of incredible contemporary artists. In the first floor, you will find "Lucio Fontana. On the Threshold" a dense retrospective show that includes radical paintings of the master accompanied with a selection of his sculptures, ceramics, drawings and environments. An exhibition organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in collaboration with Fondazione Lucio Fontana and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Just within a walking distance, it's possible to see the permanent installation by the Landscape artist Richard Serra " The Matter of Time". While, by continue up a plan, there's Jenny Holzer's largely survey exhibition "Thing Indescribable" with works that reference her beginnings in the street art in the 1970s and 1980s alongside recent works. Finally, for lovers of great classics, there's an exhibition that analyzes the influence of the Old Masters from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries on Giorgio Morandi's works, the already mentioned permanent collection and a selection of emblematic "Seascapes" by Gerhard Richter. Read more...

One can travel the world and see nothing. To achieve understanding it is necessary not to see many things, but to look hard at what you do see. (Giorgio Morandi)


Jenny Holzer. Courtesy Guggenheim Museum Bilbao


Cover image courtesy Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

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