Monday, 16 January 2017

Bilbao's Guggenheim - a pilgrimage...

Bilbao was the highlight of our Amsterdam to Barcelona cruise - Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum has been on my bucket list ever since I was bowled over by his Walt Disney Music Centre in Los Angeles. This trip was for me a pilgrimage to see the his architectural masterpiece in Bilbao.  The New Yorker had described it as "a fantastic dream ship of undulating form in a cloak of titanium" - it could have been applied to the L.A. building as well except this one is bigger and more sensational and has the environmental advantage of being on the banks of a river.  The inside was also more spectacular than the Disney Music Centre, which was relatively tame compared to the Guggenheim.  

We were lucky that it turned out to be a beautiful day and the photo ops were plenty.  I was at first disappointed that the bus didn't stop across the river from the museum to allow for a full frontal shot.  So after we've had a tour of the museum and the old town of Bilbao, we followed the bus tour back to the ship terminal, then took the bus shuttle back into town just so I could walk across the river to take that panoramic shot.  Afterall we've come 6,000 kms across the ocean to see the museum, what's another bus ride back into the city!

As is typical of art galleries and museums inside architectural masterpieces, one couldn't help but be distracted by the architecture, the art almost became secondary (for me at least).  There was an excellent exhibit of Guggenheim masterpieces, including artists like Mark Rothko, Yves Klein, Andy Warhol, Anselm Kiefer (love his "Land of the Two Rivers) and Gerhard Richter together with Basque sculptors Eduardo Chillida and Jorge Orteiza.  We also happened upon a temporary exhibit "The School Of Paris" drawn from the collection of the Guggenheim in New York - a lot of familiar works that were not sufficiently unusual to dim the exciting architecture. 

Dramatic man-made fog mark the opening hour at the Guggenheim - to add to the surreal ambiance.  Here the panorama was a bit squished because I was standing directly in front of the building, not far enough for a true panorama yet dramatic enough for an opening shot.

"Tall Tree & The Eye" by Anish Kapoor outside the museum

The atrium in panorama - Gehry called it the "flower"
Tulips by Jeff Koons on the terrace walkout from the atrium

Richard Serra's "The Matter of Time" - a sculpture of oxidized steel built for the main floor gave people who walked through the angled sheets a unique experience of shifting space and perception, which could be dizzying at times

Plaza Nueva in the Old Town, a gathering place with many taverns and restaurants in the arcades, and a flea market on Sundays

Streets of Bilbao
A house with very beautiful facade and balconies
Dry goods store in the Old Town
Salted fish store

Painted ceiling on one of the arcaded streets

Interesting store built into the side of a church?

No lack of variety in terms of music on the streets

Add caption
Our first encounter with the pilgrim route in front of this church

This steel sculpture that reminded me of a thumbprint was in a garden at the top of the hill overlooking Bilbao, we could get an almost aerial view of the Guggenheim
Yes, a full view of the museum but it's not the same as a full frontal view!  This was why we went back for more. 
Came across this interesting footbridge that took us across the river

A late afternoon side profile

The full frontal view that we came back for.  We began and ended the day with this breathtaking, fantastical piece of architecture.

Next stop:  Ferrol, Spain for the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella

No comments:

Post a Comment