The Guggenheim in Bilbao

Written by Katie Parla on June 30, 2011

Mamma Parla is the queen of finding discounted hotel rooms. She found a great rate at the Grand Hotel Domine Bilbao, a very modern and somewhat posh hotel with incredible customer service and an even better location, just across the street from the Guggenheim.When we got in, it was lightly raining and the sky was overcast. The pavement around the museum was slick and the titanium sheathing radiated a vaguely honey colored hue.

We had lunch at the Bistro before we visited the museum. A three-course menu came to under €30 per person. This included a bottle of wine, which would contribute to a nap in the armchair of Kutluğ Ataman’s ‘Küba installation‘ later on. Actually I am not sure if the nap was brought on by wine consumption or if it was a reaction to the profoundly depressing subject matter of the installation, which was actually my favorite work in the museum.

Gehry’s architecture, which carves the interior space into variously shaped and illuminated modules, is a work of art in and of itself.

The exterior spaces are home to massive works of art like Louise Bourgeois’ ‘Spider’. This, ironically, was not the colossal animal sculpture that I found most frightening.

That prize goes to Jeff Koons’ “Puppy, The Topiary Dog”. I found this large inanimate object oddly terrifying. It is shaped like a big seated dog and its flowers shift every so slightly in the wind, giving the sensation that it is alive and could get up and run off at any second.

It continued to freak me out even more at night.

Sometimes shooting with the wrong white balance has interesting effects.

At midnight we had the whole walkway around the building to ourselves. Surreal.

Stay tuned for the next post: Pintxos in Bilbao!

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