Wow! Guggenheim Bilbao!!

June 29, 2009

Guggenheim Bilbao Spain architecture Gehry

Yes! This stunning titanium masterpiece, that is the world famous Museo Guggenheim, absolutely lives up to the hype and still impresses in person, no matter how many pictures you might have seen. It is also one of the most fun museums for family travel! Even for non architecture fans, one can instantly see why it has been called the most important structure of it's time. Kudos to California architect & truly masterful artist Frank Gehry.


No, the art was not the impressive part and in fact that was a bit weak, although fun, interesting and entertaining. It was  the amazing building that was the star and endlessly fascinating.


When we were there the theme was a surreal one with art by Juan Munoz being featured along with the regular collection. Mozart particularly liked Richard Serra's massive steel sculptures, Jeff Koon's enormous live-flowered puppy standing outside and his colorful huge Tulip bouquet on a back deck area over looking Louise Bourgeois'  gigantic mother spider



The large pieces  interact with the building and landscape in a whimsical way that is provocative. Even the glass elevator (ala Charlie and the Chocolate factory) was a fun addition. The depth and breath of the exhilarating experience had us thinking about it and discussing it for weeks. 





It is one of those places that you really just need to experience yourself, but here are a few pictures to give you a hint of the pleasure. Have you been to Museo Guggenheim in Bilbao or is it on your list?











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This is a real piece of art. I had the opportunity to admire it when travelling through Royal Holiday! Awesome!


I was just there for a long weekend over Memorial Day and yes, my reaction was about the same as yours: WOW. I was half expecting a tourist trap but found exactly the opposite. Both the art and the architecture were terrific.

Most of my time there was spent in Bilbao (I wanted to see that city!) but I had a chance to take a day trip to San Sabastian, too. Once I went there I realized that most visitors were doing exactly the opposite: Visiting San Sabastian as their main destination, with Bilbao as a side trip. I, for one, liked Bilbao so much (for the people, for the art, for its interesting history) that I'm glad I took the route I did.

Thanks for the new post, and for reminding me of that trip!


It is great what you are writing about. But why havent you been to Barcelona??? See my blog about Barcelona and really think about to visit us:) I would like to welcome you!


Claudia-Isn't it wonderful in person? Glad you got to see it too!

Joe-Cool! Just like you we found Bilboa a pleasant surprise & we were actually disappointed in San Sebastian at first, but grew to enjoy it. We were there last year and took the long route from Andalusia, all the way up Portugal to Galicia, then across the top of Spain slowly. We have seen a LOT of Spain in the last 3 years & have enjoyed it all. ( We went onto France, Ireland, Wales, England, Sweden ,Denmark, Norway, Germany before returning to Spain for the winter. Bilbao was a fun surprise, glad you enjoyed it too!

Linda-Thanks, Nice blog! We love Barcelona and this is our 5th time here since we started our open ended world tour in 2006. I have lots of posts about it if you look & will do some more. It is also a convenient resting spot for us before we head over to Italy ( via overnight ferry) or down to Andalusia in late fall.

We are in Barcelona now & have been for a few weeks. Today we went to Montserrat all day. Tomorrow we will be exploring hidden gems on the wild coast & see the 2 Dali houses we have missed in the triad.

We'd love to connect when we return as we will be leaving Barcelona soon. If we miss you now, we can try again in the fall when we return once more! We stay at a camping beach resort, so do not go into the city everyday, but we are wild Gaudi fans. We have seen a lot of Barcelona, but perhaps you know a hidden gem we have not seen yet? I still want to see the Miro museum.

Amy @ The Q Family

It's amazing building! Well, I never heard about this place before but it is on my list now! Thanks to your blog post. :)

Rachel Kokosenski

Gorgeous photos! I've been to the Disney Hall in LA quite a few times (also by Frank Gehry). The Bilbao building looks equally fascinating and beautiful. I'll put this on my "must see" list for sure!

Heather Dugan ("Footsteps")

It's on my list -and a little closer to the top after reading your post...


very impressive building - great photo opportunities by the looks of it.


i love this. there's a smaller one, like this (by gehry) in minneapolis, at the u-mn. we all called it the exploding tuna can. fantastic photos!


Amy-Thanks! Glad to hear it!

Rachel-Thanks! I don't think I have seen the one in LA even though I lived there for years.

Heather- Cool!

Jeff- Thanks! Yes it was!

Jessie- Ha! "exploding tuna can"Love it!


Wow! Amazing pictures. Almost looks surreal!

Sarah V.

I used to teach art history, so I found your story really interesting. I've never been to Bilbao, but I hope to go someday. Frank Gehry is amazing!

Great pictures!


This is one of the places I've actually been to in Europe!
I agree with you about the art there--the building itself is far more impressive to me than the art it contains, especially since I'm a bit of an architecture buff.
This was the first Gehry building I'd seen, so it was a real "wow" moment for me.
I did have to giggle a little when our guide that day referred to Koon's "Puppy" piece, pronouncing it as "Poo-py".

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