July 23, 2024 | 10:29

Capital of the world

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao: 25 years of a unique world example

Miguel Castillo

March 15, 2023 | 11:18 a.m.

The iconic Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year

This architectural masterpiece, designed by Frank Gehry and inaugurated on October 18, 1997, is considered a benchmark in the development of European culture and has succeeded in transforming Bilbao's identity using beauty as a tool for promoting and enhancing the territory. The city, which used to be dreary and post-industrial, has become one of the world's top tourist destinations thanks to the «Bilbao effect».

To commemorate this undeniable victory, the museum has launched the "Art inspires the future" celebration program, which includes a series of events throughout the city and the reopening of its extraordinary permanent collection, which is free for all Basque citizens.

Richard Armstrong, director of the Guggenheim Foundation in New York and the famous museum on the Upper East Side, has said that the Guggenheim in Bilbao is an exceptional example of how investment in culture can revitalize a city and an entire region. Despite initial misgivings from the local political and art community, the museum has shown that investment in culture can lead to the rebirth of a city and an entire region.

Bilbao has gone from being a declining center, focused on iron and steel production, to a self-aware and flourishing hub, which has also led to a renaissance of Basque identity and language (today taught in the schools).

The director of the museum, Juan Ignacio Vidarte, affirms that it is not about a standardizable and replicable model, but about a unique case. The Guggenheim in Bilbao has proposed to be a museum of the future, nourishing the Basque land and attracting creative minds, stimulating a relationship with the public and private patrons that has resulted in fruitful interconnections.

Guggenheim Museum
The construction of the Guggenheim Museum marked a before and after in the city

The reopening of the permanent collection of the Guggenheim in Bilbao

Coinciding with the anniversary, the museum presents a thematic reorganization of its permanent collection in the great exhibition "Sections/Intersections", which reflects the Guggenheim's vocation for research and collecting. Until January 22, 2023, visitors will be able to rediscover the history of XNUMXth and early XNUMXst century art through works by artists such as Rothko, Kusama, Serra, Iglesias, Basquiat, and Warhol. The exhibition is divided into three autonomous sections, located on three floors of the building.

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