Guggenheim: Reviewing an Art Gallery with No Idea About Art

Readers of this blog will know i know nothing about art, and luckily I’ve never set up a precedent of pretending to. So, this ‘review’ of the Guggenheim will, I guess, be a from a visitors perspective, not altered by any underlying biases of museum study.

Basically, I loved it.

Designed by American architect Frank Gehry, The Guggenheim is obviously stunning. The building is on three levels, centred around the Atrium, connected with curved walkways. Surrounded by the river, and the red and orange old buildings of Bilbao, the stone, glass and titanium building is an unmissable contrast. You know you’re in Bilbao if you can see the Guggenheim.

My favourite work, and probably most visitors favourite work, was Richard Serra’s installation The Matter of Time. It was fun, which is what art galleries often have the stereotype of not being. I sort of understood the meaning, it definitely was a unforgettable, dizzying feeling. More than that, it’s unusual finding a maze in an art gallery, people were enjoying it, whether they understood the context or not.

“The Matter of Time allows the viewer to perceive the evolution of the artist’s sculptural forms, from the relative simplicity of a double ellipse to the complexity of a spiral. The last two pieces of this sculpture are created from sections of toruses and spheres that produce different effects on the movement and perception of the viewer. These are unexpectedly transformed as the visitor walks through and around them, creating an unforgettable, dizzying feeling of space in motion. The entire room is part of the sculptural field.”

The Guggenheim is a tourists dream, myself included. The building, Louise Bourgeois’ giant spider sculpture, Maman, is an impressive photo opportunity. Almost 9 meters tall, Maman is a reflection of Bourgeois’ relationship with her mother, as a symbol of both strength and fragility in maternity. But, of course, it’s prime selfie background. Likewise Jeff Koons’ Puppy, the West Highland terrier carpeted in bedding plants sits outside guarding the entrance. The Tulips, also by Jeff Koons, the bouquet of balloon flowers, that are 2 meters tall and 5 meters across, lay on a balcony overlooking the river.

Bilbao is a beautiful city, and one I’d recommend to anyone for a city break. The Guggenheim is an accessible, fun, and exciting gallery. And has taught me that I’m drawn to large scale art..



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