Art / English / Photography / Thoughts / Travel

A visit to Guggenheim

One of the reasons I came to Bilbao is to visit Guggenheim Museum. This museum intrigues me. Its building is a thing people either love or hate. Whatever your opinion is about this edifice, it is surely spectacular.
Pic courtesy of Iartindex

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is one of the five museums/galleries from Guggenheim Foundation. They are located in New York USA, Las Vegas USA, Berlin Germany, Venice Italy and Dubai UAE. One museum is coming soon in Brussels, Belgium.

My friends and I bought the entry ticket online. I also read on its website that taking pictures in the museum is forbidden so I left my DSLR in the wardrobe. This is why I borrowed the picture above.

Inside the museum I planned to take pictures with my iPhone. Unlike most European museums which forbid DSLR with flash but allow smartphones and tablets, Guggenheim museum forbids photography with all kinds of camera in the expositions and permanent collections. The staff was very alert and firm in letting you know that photography is forbidden in some areas.

We strolled along the Nervión river from Casco Viejo. It took us about 20 minutes before we reached Guggenheim Museum.

Guggenheim museum presents its permanent collections and two exhibition in this massive building.

Ernesto Neto
The main exhibition is from Brasilian artist Ernesto Neto, called “The body that carries me”. This exhibition is held from 14 February 2014 – 18 May 2014.

Neto’s work hangs in the spacious, light entry where taking picture is allowed.




Listening to the audio guide, there is a long explanation about the building. There is also an audio fragment of Frank Gehry, the architect, of how he came to the idea and started designing. This is a truly experience to those who are interested in architecture.

Ernesto Neto’s works
Pic is courtesy of Guggenheim Museum

This is one of two interactive works, inviting the visitors to touch and feel.

This one hangs in the same room with the previous one. I love it!

Ernesto Neto uses rope, fabrics, nylon, balls in his artworks. He tells stories about his beloved Brasil, about the Amazon, the favela in Rio de Janeiro. I don’t always get his ideas without knowing the story behind it. Let’s say I find his works intriguing. I have been intrigued by people like him who are able to express deep ideas with unconventional materials.

Yoko Ono
Due to her marriage to John Lennon and things that come with it, I almost forgot that Yoko Ono is an accomplished artist. Her being an avant garde artist, way ahead her time attracted John. Yoko Ono’s exhibition: Half-a-wind show. Retrospective is present from 4 March 2014 – 4 September 2014.


Her works vary from audio, films, music and installation. No camera is allowed in the exhibition hall, so I have no pictures to share.

This is a wish tree where visitors hang their wishes. There hang many of them in different languages.


This is a quote by Voltaire “I decided to be happy. It’s good for the health”.

Peace on earth

I want a spouse who is beautiful and has much money 🙂

Other works of Miss Ono which are accessible for camera.


Miss Ono seems to greatly fascinated by water. Those wooden boxes contain marble body parts. Far right there is a bow of water. Visitors are invited to touch and feel the body parts with water.

I understand Yoko Ono’s exhibition better than Ernesto Neto’s. Yoko Ono stirs the public with her shocking but subtle statements about big or daily issues, from War and Peace to Wishes. She uses objects we also have in our house, such as jars, fabrics, cushions. It seems very close but seen from afar, it is her world. That is how I put it. She seems to be misunderstood by the world, beside being one of the world famous widows.

Permanent collection
The permanent collection is also interesting. On the basement there is a hall full of giant, deconstructed famous paintings. Deconstructed as the artist remade famous paintings but left some elements.

Like this one.
The Raft of Medusa. I illegally took this pic which I am not proud of. I could not resist as this caught me big.

Compare it to the original The Raft of Medusa by Théodore Géricault, collection of Musée Louvre, Paris.


This is simple but genius, benefiting maximally from the natural light.

Me in front of a hammock with copper stand.

The building
What I love about the building is Frank Gehry’s imagination. The lines stream effortlessly inside and outside the building.





Jeff Koons’ colourful tulips from stainless steel

Tall tree and the eye from stainless steel and carbon steel by Anish Kapoor

The Puppy, stainless steel soil and flowering plants by Jeff Koons, pic is courtesy of Guggenheim Museum. When I was there The Puppy was wrapped in scaffoldings for the workers to trim the flowers.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao triggers its visitors to explore the beauty of modern art with subjects close to our daily life. It is surely worth a visit. Now I can tick the museum list I want to visit.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

  • Open Tuesday – Sunday 10 am – 8 pm
  • Closed on Monday
  • Tickets € 13,- including audio guide (price May 2014)
  • The ticket is valid for a day. You can visit the museum in the morning, get out and come back in the afternoon.
  • Photography with any kind of camera is strictly forbidden in the exposition halls inside.

  • Pics I share above are made with iPhone, unedited. Those which are from other sources are credited accordingly.

    Read my other posts about Bilbao:
    Beautiful Bilbao
    Casco Viejo
    Alhóndiga Bilbao
    Culinary tour Bilbao


    15 thoughts on “A visit to Guggenheim

    1. Sepertinya keren. Jadi pengen banget pergi, tapi aku kalau ke museum yang ngelarang ambil foto suka sebel. Nggak ngerti alasannya, apalagi jaman sekarang. Museum apalagi yang ada di listnya mba?

      • Iya aku juga sebel. Biasanya dilarang untuk DSLR pake flash & tripod. Ini streng banget, camera dari mobile device pun dilarang. Aku ngerti sih maksudnya supaya nyaman menikmati koleksi, ngga kaya didepan Monalisa, Louvre yang orang jeprat jepret pake camera, berisik. Cuma ya, kok dilarang semua, gimana orang bisa share ke publik ya?

        Beberapa yang ada di wish list museum yang aku mau kunjungi:
        Guggenheim NYC
        MoMA NYC
        Frida Kahlo, Mexico City
        Gustav Klimt, Vienna
        Terracotta soldiers museum, Xi’an
        Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
        Jardin Majorelle (Yves Saint Laurent’s garden) Marrakech

        dsb…dsb… Masih banyak yang lain, nanti panjang 😉

        • Iya juga sih, tapi klo museum2 disini salah satu tujuannya untuk menjaga koleksi juga buat koleksi itu bisa di access sebanyak mungkin orang. Gemana klo gak boleh share? Lagian kan marketing gratis klo orang ambil2 foto, Yah gak? Klo monalisa sih aku ngerti, tapi monalisa kan gak usah dimarketing atau di share lagi yah? sapa yang nggak tau sih?

          • Nah itulah rancunya. Seperti Ernesto Neto ini juga kalo kita Google ngga begitu banyak infonya. Mungkin karena installation art belum diterima awam? Kalo fine art seperti lukisan dan patung memang orang kan kenal.

            Mengenai larangan motret dimuseum aku pikir ini policynya direksi museum tersebut kali ya. Di Belanda di Van Gogh Museum ngga boleh motret sama sekali, Rijksmuseum & Stedelijk Museum boleh, pake DSLR juga boleh (kalo ada waktu browse blogku, pernah post foto Rijksmuseum Oktober 2013). Di MACBA, Museu Picasso, La Pedrera Gaudí di Barcelona boleh motret pake DSLR pun, di Berlin juga boleh. Paris Musée Louvre, Jeu de Paume, Rodin boleh motret, Musée d’Orsay ngga.

            Cuma ya apa gunanya dilarang gitu karena pengunjung pun akan curi-curi motret koleksinya.

            Aku setuju sama kamu, art harus accessible untuk publik, jangan hanya untuk kalangan tertentu aja.

          • Yup, itu aku yakin policy direktur yang masih jaman purba. Kalau museum2 yang maju pola pikirnya pasti boleh deh. Aku ngerti kalau exibisinya bakal di touring, supaya klo ke museum lain orang masih penasaran. hihihi!

    2. Bentuk gedungnya kalo menurut aku lebih unik dan aneh yg ini Lo, kl yg di NYC biasa aza kl dari luar bulat putih gitu kyk gedung kantor yg modern minimalist. Aku suka dalemnya, ceiling nya ada yg spt jaring laba2 gitu kl menurut mata aku. Yg di Billbao ini ada kuda yg digantung ditengah2 ga Lo? Basically I love Guggenheim and Moma in NYC. Pengen ih ke Billbao…

      • Lain koleksinya Ria. Guggenheim NYC kalo gw liat di permanent collection masih ada lukisan fine art, kalo di Bilbao semuanya modern art.

        Gedung ini jadi landmark Bilbao, masuk kota naik mobil, turun kebawah terus jrengg, muncullah gedung yang mirip alien ship ini. Malem juga seru, bagus lighting diluar.

    3. wadduh bisa betah seharian disitu dari pagi sampe malem, bersih nyaman dan karyanya…. saya nggak ngerti apa-apa soal seni, saya bilang itu luar biasa banget. Mbak yang ada tempat tiduran pengunjung warna pink itu ada disetiap sudut atau hanya disatu tempat aja?

      • Memang nyaman tempatnya dan pasti bersih seperti museum di negara lain di Eropa. Yang awam seni biasanya akan tergelitik melihat karya seni modern yang kadang seperti onggokan benda tanpa arti 😉

        Itu lounge bed kecil pink hanya ada di hall. Selebihnya minimalis.

    4. Amsyoooong keren bingiiiit mbak.. Dinamis yaa bentuk gangunannya kayak vas2 tembaga disusun2 un-organized gitu tp jadinya spektakuler.. Karya2 di museumnya jg bagus2, click ‘n match sama bangunannya..

      • Keren banget Shin. Ngga ada garis lurus diluar dan didalam kecuali frame kusen jendela dihall. Yang aku suka integrasi konsepnya konsekwen diluar dan didalam gedung. Clean, minimalis & space like.

        Terus detail didalemnya untuk display koleksinya juga dipikirin bener. Dari dimana jatuhnya cahaya dengan square diplafond sampe lempengan tembaga yang ditempel disamping lift. Lantainya juga aku suka, hanya dicor dan disemen licin. Industrial banget.

      • Awalnya kesel kok motret pake hp pun dilarang sampe aku & temen-temenku jadi pinter. Kita gantian motret dan jaga-jaga liatin si petugas, biar ngga kepergok 😉 I am not proud of it tapi pingin motret karena bagus banget karya seninya.

    5. Pingback: Presenting: Arnhem Centraal | Chez Lorraine

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