Stranded In The Southland

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Guggenheim in Bilbao

Okay, so the Guggenheim in Bilbao had some serious hype -- everybody raved about the architecture, and a few people warned about the weakness of the art within. I´m not usually one to believe the hype, but in this case I was glad I did -- this place was great.

The architecture is amazing (duh). The whole building is the bizarre assemblage of rounded and pointed shapes (no links, come on, if you´re interested, you can look it up!). It gets even better when you go inside. It is well laid out, but still manages to have a bunch of fun, surprising little passages leading all over, with interesting stuff tucked in around every corner.

I really groove on this sort of floorplan, with pleasant little bits to find on your own all over. Despite my aching feet, I wandered up and down the steps, through the galleries, and around all threaccessiblele floors. There were some cool lighting gantries, long metal balconies arching out in a sort of fourth floor which were, alasinaccessiblele. Plus a mysterious balcony up on what would be a fifth floor that I couldn´t find any way to access. Wild.

The permanent collection was fascinating, not that I know anything about art. Richard Serra makes bends gigantic sheets of rusty steel into freestanding sculpture, which really rocked. It just seemed like so much fun to wander through the 100 foot long Snake and around and around the other twisty works. Plus the museum had some really cool sculpture by various members of a ¨poor art¨ movement from the sixties.

Alas, after that, things sort of petered out. They were putting on a temporary exhibit of Aztec stuff, and I really just couldn´t get excited about that after seeing all of the cool modern stuff. I mean, coming from the Americas, it just didn´t seem all that exotic, and it didn´t seem all that interesting. Probably my bad, but there it is.

All in all, though, it was an amazing museum. Mostly for the architecture, but there was definitely cool stuff in there, too!