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Guggenheim Bilbao

Bilbao art district

Bizkaia

An urban centre where art lives

The streets of Bilbao are one big exhibition of architecture and contemporary art. Most of it can be found near the estuary, between the Guggenheim Museum, the Albia gardens and the The Euskalduna Conference Centre and Concert Hall. An initiative known as the Bilbao Art District organises activities throughout the year to integrate culture and art into the city’s daily life.

Architecture walks

At the centre of Bilbao is a road of about one kilometre in length, which includes works by four Pritzker-award-winning architects: Frank O. Ghery (Guggenheim Museum Bilbao), Rafael Moneo (Deusto Library), Álvaro Siza (University assembly hall) and Norman Foster (entrances to the metro stations). There are also buildings by other internationally known architects such as Santiago Calatrava (Zubizuri bridge), César Pelli (Iberdrola Tower), Ricardo Legorreta (Hotel Meliá Bilbao) and Arata Isozaki (Isozaki Atea housing complex).

Zubizuri bridge and Isozaki Towers, Bilbao

Walks among sculptures

The pleasant walk next to the Bilbao estuary connects the historic centre with the Bilbao Art District and contains several hugely interesting sculptures. Those in the Guggenheim Museum are very popular: Louise Bourgeois (Maman), Jeff Koons (Tulips), Anish Kapoor (Tall Tree & The Eye) and Daniel Buren (The Red Arches); the original work with fog by Fujico Nakaya and the works by Salvador Dalí (Terpsícore) Tucker (Maia).

Maman sculpture by Louise Bourgeois, Bilbao

Large museums

The Guggenheim Museum is an icon of the city and both its permanent collection and temporary exhibitions display works by great contemporary artists. The Fine Arts Museum contains works by artists such as Bacon, El Greco and Tàpies and it tends to organise hugely important displays. Other large cultural spaces with a big presence in the city are the Azkuna Zentroa and the Sala Rekalde, which both have schedules based on contemporary art; and the Bilbao Maritime Museum , which teaches visitors about the local marine tradition.

Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

And galleries and art centres

The Bilbao Art District includes more than 30 art galleries very close together that offer intimate access to art. Most of the galleries focus on contemporary art and historical avant-gardes. They display acclaimed artists and new emerging styles. They are also direct points of sale for the artworks. The whole area has an abundance of shops with different artistic elements. There are antique shops, photography and dance studios, charming bookshops, art auction houses, restoration workshops, etc.

Espacio Marzana Gallery, Bilbao
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