Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao

by Audrey
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Guggenheim museum Bilbao

The Bilbao Guggenheim is a museum of modern and contemporary art. Its futuristic architecture has made it a true symbol of the city of Bilbao internationally. His collection focuses on art from the second half of the 20th century to the present day and numerous temporary exhibitions are held there each year. Check out my tips for planning your visit to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

History of the museum

The project

In the 1990s, the Basque government wished to give a new image to its region and to the city of Bilbao, then abandoned by tourists. In this context, they decided to contact the Guggenheim Foundation in order to build a museum which would highlight the modernism of the city. It was the architect Frank Gehry who designed the Guggenheim Museum. This project is one of his most famous achievements. He chose to place his museum in what was then an industrial area.

Franck Gehry’s design

Museum Guggenheim in Bilbao

Frank O. Gehry decided to reflect the  industrial atmosphere of the place in his new building. Its metallic coating echoes the steel work which participated in the development of the city. Its silhouette in stone, glass and titanium takes the form of a huge boat moored on the edge of the estuary. You can stroll around the museum to see it from different perspectives and discover the works exhibited outside.

The interior is designed around a central atrium which serves the different wings of the museum and will allow you to move between the different exhibitions. The different rooms are connected by walkways and stairs. They all have different volumes and atmospheres.

The Guggenheim had a very strong impact on the city of Bilbao. It is one of the 4 Guggenheim museums in the world.

The Guggenheim exhibitions in Bilbao

Bilbao Louise Bourgeois Spider

The museum is known in particular for emphasizing innovative installations and works. He owns 11 large-format works such as Maman, the monumental spider by Louise Bourgeois made in 1999, and The matter of time, a huge installation by Richard Serra.

Among the artists exhibited in the permanent collection, you’ll find Jeff Koons, Yves Klein, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko or Anselm Kiefer and Jenny Holzer.

The museum regularly offers new temporary exhibitions focusing either on an artist or on a broader theme related to contemporary art.

Buy your tickets for the Guggenheim Museum

It’s possible to buy your tickets on site, but be aware that the queue can sometimes be long. If you have little time on site or simply do not want to wait, it may be wise to buy a ticket online.

It will allow you to enter the museum more quickly, and of course gives you access to the permanent and temporary exhibitions.

Entrance fee to Guggenheim

The rates vary according to the programming of the moment, and during the transition periods between two exhibitions you will find reduced rates because some rooms will not be accessible. If you have more than one availability to visit the museum, try them on the reservation site before proceeding to payment because prices can vary from one day to another!

  • General adult ticket: between 13 and 17 €. The entrance fee varies by date.
  • Reduced rate for retirees and pensioners and students under 26: between 7 and 9 €
  • Free entry for children under 12 accompanied by an adult
  • Groups of more than 20 people: between 14 € and 16 €

Guggenheim opening hours

  • Tuesday to Sunday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The museum is closed on Mondays except:

  • March 26
  • April 2 and 30
  • September 3 and 10
  • Every Monday in July and August

The museum closes on December 25 and January 1.

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