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Guggenheim museum Bilbao | ©Phillip Maiwald / Wikimedia Commons
Guggenheim museum Bilbao | ©Phillip Maiwald / Wikimedia Commons
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Guggenheim Bilbao’s 20th Anniversary Celebrations

Picture of Esme Fox
Updated: 26 March 2017
This year, Bilbao’s celebrated Guggenheim will be turning 20, and the museum will be putting on a whole host of events and exhibitions to celebrate. The iconic Guggenheim Museum Bilbao was designed by the architect Frank Gehry and has secured the Basque city a firm place as a top destination for art and culture.

The anniversary events, running throughout the year, will culminate in a top secret event in October 2017. The year-long celebrations are centred around the theme of ‘Art Changes Everything’ and will look at how the famous museum has changed the city of Bilbao – turning it into something of an art and design hub and a major tourist destination.

Guggenheim Bilbao | ©Vicente Villamón /
Guggenheim Bilbao | ©Vicente Villamón / Flickr

The anniversary programme aims to not only attract new visitors to the city, but also involve the local community, offering up museum and exhibition space to young local Basque artists. It will be offering activities in three areas – the artistic sphere, partnerships with the local artistic community and celebratory events for its citizens.

As part of the celebrations the museum will present artworks which feature technological, electrical or hydraulic elements. These include Daniel Buren’s Red Arches/Arku gorriak , one of Fujiko Nakaya’s Fog Sculptures, Yves Klein’s Fire Fountain, Jenny Holzer’s Installation for Bilbao and Juan Muñoz’s Shadow and Mouth. There will also be a number of special exhibitions running throughout 2017, which aim to appeal to a broad and diverse audience. These will feature a wide variety of artists such as Toulouse Lautrec (May 12 – Sep 17), Bill Viola (June 30 – Nov 9 2017), Georg Baselitz (July 14 – Oct 22) and David Hockney (Nov 10 – Feb 25 2018).

Installation view: Francis Bacon: From Picasso to Velázquez. © Guggenheim Bilbao
Installation view: Francis Bacon: From Picasso to Velázquez. | © Guggenheim Bilbao

Celebrations involving the local artistic community include a competition for local artists, the winners of which will see their work on display at the Guggenheim itself. This exhibition of emerging Basque talent will take place this spring (2017). A large portion of the events will also be for the citizens of Bilbao themselves, and will feature free museum days, DJ nights and concerts. The exact event details are yet to be announced.

To date, since its opening 20 years ago, the museum has been visited by over 18 million people, has provided around 5,000 jobs and has contributed over 3,800,000,000 euros to GDP. Today it houses 130 works by 74 artists, which are valued at around 729 million euros (almost seven times the initial investment of 110 million euros).

Puppy by Jeff Koons, Guggenheim Bilbao | ©Wikimedia Commons
‘Puppy’ by Jeff Koons, Guggenheim Bilbao | © Georges Jansoone / WikiCommons