Bienvenida-destacado
Welcome

Welcome to the corporate website of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, where you will find all the institutional information about the Museum. In a daring attempt to favor new information and communication channels, the Guggenheim Bilbao presents the philosophy that governs its actions, its strategic goals, and its social responsibility in this new site.


//Time line
Time line

1991

Formalities for materializing the idea of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao were launched in February 1991, when representatives of the Basque Administrations contacted the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation to propose that it participate in part of its plan to revamp Bilbao and the Basque Country as a whole.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Board of Trustees received the proposal warmly, due to their recent approval of a long-term development plan for the Foundation involving a network of different centers distributed throughout the world, thereby creating a coordinated group of cultural institutions.

Following months of hard negotiations, in December of the same year, the Basque Government, the Provincial Council of Bizkaia, and the
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation signed the Development and Programming Services Agreement for the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao at the Provincial Council’s headquarters in Bilbao.

1992–93

After selecting the site and the architect, who would design an iconic building, in July 1992 the Basque Government and the Provincial Council of Biscay constituted the Consorcio del Proyecto Guggenheim Bilbao. Its primary objective was to supervise all aspects related to the construction of the Museum. Juan Ignacio Vidarte was appointed Managing Director of the Consorcio.

In February 1993, the first schematic model of the Museum designed by Frank O. Gehry was presented, and the break ground ceremony took place on October 22.

1994

In October, work began on the structure of what was to become the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the Management Agreement between the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the Basque authorities establishing the terms of collaboration between the parties with regard to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao was signed before the year was out.

1996

In November, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation presented the Basque Administrations with a draft Strategic Management Plan 1997–2000 for the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. The presentation of this proposal marked the beginning of a process of analysis and debate culminating in approval by the Executive Committee of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Foundation of the Operating Plan defining the working guidelines governing the Museum’s first four years in operation.

1997

Once the building had been completed, equipment was installed, and staff was appointed, on October 3 a fortnight of inaugural activities began, ending on October 19 with the opening of the Museum to the public. Less than a year later, more than 1,300,000 people had already visited the Museum.

Art

The opening exhibition The Guggenheim Museums and the Art of This Century creates enormous expectation, as the Museum’s first exhibition is dedicated to one of the most important modern and contemporary art collections in the world.

Initiatives

The Library, with its recently created specialized bibliographic collection, opens to staff and outside researchers. The Store/Bookstore also opens, offering carefully designed publications to convey an image of excellence and quality.

In response to the demands of society—companies, institutions, and individuals—to participate in the project, the Corporate Members Program and the Individual Members Program are created. They are to become an essential part of the Museum activity.

KPMG Consulting is commissioned to carry out an analysis on the effect of the Museum’s economic activity on its surroundings. The results demonstrate that forecasts had been more than met with regard to visitors, economic activity, and resources generated.

And…

  • Time Magazine’s Best Design of 1997 Award

  • Cambio 16 Award (art section)

  • Correo Award “Promoción de Euskadi”, 1997

1998

Art

The exhibition China: 5,000 Years explores innovation and transformation in Chinese art over five millennia, from the exquisite jades of the Neolithic period to the present day. For the show, the Museum is transformed according to Arata Isozaki’s installation design.

Initiatives

The first Educational Programs are organized with the objective of giving schoolchildren, educators, Museum Members, and the general public a better understanding of the art exhibited. Family programs are also organized to encourage parents and children to enjoy the visits together. And the new Artean voucher offering joint entry to the Museum and the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum is launched.

As part of the First Anniversary celebrations, Museum Members are invited to an Open House Day during which guided tours give them a better idea of the work carried out by the different Museum departments.

And…

  • VIII Winterthur–Economics Award for Business Sponsorship, 1998

  • Protagonistas Award (art category), 1998

1999

Art

This year’s major exhibition was Robert Rauschenberg: A Retrospective, dedicated to the entire career of one of the most prolific and innovating artists of the second half of the 20th century who captured critical and public attention with his zeal for artistic research and spirit of invention.

Initiatives

The Museum adds a new feature to its guided tours for the general public with visits in sign language for the hearing impaired in an endeavor to make art more accessible to everyone.

The Museum also collaborates with UNICEF in organizing programs and activities to celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Museum web site is launched as a tool for disseminating the Museum’s activities and art program.

And…

  • Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts, granted on December 4, 1998, and presented on June 22, 1999, in Santiago de Compostela

  • IV International “Puente de Alcántara” Award, 1999

2000

Art

The exhibition The Art of the Motorcycle causes an impact on the museum scene with its presentation of the motorcycle as a metaphor of the 20th century. Invented in the early century, this industrial object was used by the exhibition to approach questions of technology, design, speed, rebelliousness, desire, freedom, sex, death… modernity in all its essence, in a presentation designed by Frank Gehry.

Initiatives

Launch of the Volunteer Program. Based on the unselfish collaboration of the Museum’s Individual Members, the program contributes to cultural and artistic dissemination.

End of the Operating Plan 1997-2000, the objectives of which were met with flying colors.

And…

  • 2000 European Museum of the year, granted by the European Museum Forum, body under the auspices of the Council of Europe.

  • Communication Award granted by Radio Euskadi in recognition of the Museum’s contribution to spreading a positive image of the Basque Country.

2001

Art

Fashion comes in the Museum with Marvel of the Modern World Award, a retrospective exhibition featuring the Italian designer’s cutting-edge creations, remarkable for their adaptation to social changes, in a spectacular setting designed by visual artist Robert Wilson.

Initiatives

The Bilbao Collection continues to grow, and the storage area is remodeled and optimized to suit new needs. Techniques and systems for moving large artworks are adopted, bringing a major improvement to the Museum equipment.

The Strategic Plan 2001–2004 is formulated and launched with ambitious targets and goals.

And…

  • “Prix d’Excellence”, granted by FIABCI, Oslo, May 2001, underlining the role played by the Museum as a fundamental element in the city’s urban revitalization, and as an architectural icon of international renown.

2002

Art

Paris: Capital of the Arts, 1900–1968 takes a different look at the art of the historical avant-gardes. The exhibition encompasses over half a century of artistic movements, historical events, and artists who fashioned the Paris of the first half of the 20th century.

Initiatives

The elderly have become a very important visitor group for the Museum. By way of a contribution to the sponsoring of cultural activities for the elderly of Bilbao, an agreement is signed with the Provincial Council of Biscay which turns out to be a huge success.

To celebrate our Fifth Anniversary, a full program of activities, including music, dance, and cinema, is designed. In addition, we thank the citizenship for their social backing with a weekend of free admission.

And…

  • Marvel of the Modern World Award granted by the Condé Nast Traveller magazine, on April 17, 2002

  • Grandi Musei d’Europa 2002 Award, from the Touring Club of Italy

2003

Art

The exhibition Calder. Gravity and Grace has an underlying playful aspect reflecting the jovial personality of American artist Alexander Calder. His love of games, drawings thrown into the air, and the simplicity and lightness of his works encompass an anything but spontaneous “naïveté” taking on a special quality in the unique Museum spaces.

Initiatives

Over 5,000 youngsters play the leading part in Motion Graphics, a series of activities and workshops designed to show them some of the most avant-garde audiovisual practices. This activity also marks the presentation from the Permanent Collection entitled Moving Pictures.

And…

  • Global Accessibility Management System Certificate UNE 170001-2; the first European organization to meet the DALCO standards.

2004

Art

Over 150 works, including some of colossal scale, make up James Rosenquist: A Retrospective, a fine tribute to the remarkable American Pop artists. Turning his eyes towards the consumer culture, advertising, and popular imagery, Rosenquist develops a personal style committed to his time and his context.

Initiatives

American sculptor Richard Serra receives from the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao the most important commission ever assigned to an artist in the modern history of art: seven new large-format sculptures for the Collection.

The objectives established in the Strategic Plan 2001–2004 are met, and working groups are launched to formulate the new management goals for the upcoming four years.

The Museum opens the on-line store, thus generating a widely visited showcase for the articles on sale.

And…

  • ISO 14001 Certificate in environmental management presented at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao on July 23, 2004.

  • Silver “Q” from Euskalit and first European museum to earn recognition for quality management under the EFQM Business Excellence Model.

2005

Art

The Matter of Time, the culmination of Richard Serra’s visual language, is inaugurated. In this installation, the artist develops the potential of abstraction and movement, the result of 25 years of research. Thanks to this commission, specifically created for the Bilbao Collection, the Museum becomes an international reference for those wishing to discover the work of Serra, one of the most important sculptors of our time.

Initiatives

New family programs are launched with Family Weekends, including activities for younger publics, visits and workshops, cinema, etc.

Improved conditions for older members are also introduced, and a new category of membership, “Basic Member” is created.

We start a fruitful and highly beneficial collaboration for art and music lovers with the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra (BOS).

Launch of one of our most ambitious advertising campaigns to publicize an exhibition: The Aztec Empire.

And…

  • Tourist Merit Award 2005 on proposal by the Ministry of Industry, Tourism, and Trade, presented on October 5, 2005 by His Majesty Juan Carlos I King of Spain at the Palacio de Congresos conference center in Madrid.

2006

Art

The exhibition Russia! goes beyond the temporary borders of modern art and the limits of Western geography. From 13th century icons until the present day, over 300 works illustrate nine centuries of art reflecting spirituality, social and political revolutions, realist pictorial traditions, the discovery of abstraction, and the experimentation of modernity.

Initiatives

New benefits are designed for Individual Members: the program “Join Us Now” trying to make it simpler to become a Museum Member; and the Museum Members’ Yearbook, containing the highlights in the past year.

The agreement with the Arriaga Theater is renewed, bringing Members advantages and discounts.

The Museum collaborates with James Rosenquist on a new initiative fostering collecting among Members, as it had formerly done with Manolo Valdés, Jesús Mª Lazkano, and Miquel Navarro.

Start of the course on Shared Responsibility and Sensibility in Art. Interpretation and Education, organized jointly with the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of the Basque Country, and with the collaboration of artists and professionals.

And…

  • Awards for Business Sponsorship and Patronage in Spain within the framework of Corporate Social Responsibility

  • Finalists in the Cultural Category–Museums and Cultural Centres: to Arcelor for its project at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Volunteers in the Pablo Durán Thornberg Category.

2007

Art

A special Art Program is designed to mark the celebration of the Museum’s Tenth Anniversary.

Highlights include the exhibition dedicated to Anselm Kiefer, running in spring and summer, and Art in the USA: 300 Years of Innovation, taking a look at the keys to history in the USA through 200 artworks. The most important exhibition of North American art organized in Europe to that date.

Initiatives

The Tenth Anniversary presides over all the Museum activities this year. Under the title Hirieszena, a full program of joint projects and collaborations with local cultural institutions aimed at different groups is organized: music, dance, film and theatre, all coming together at the Museum for this celebration.

And…

  • Other anniversary celebrations include the improvement of the Museum infrastructures; the commission of an artwork for the neighboring La Salve bridge by Daniel Buren; the commission of a musical piece; artistic events for the Individual Members; a new web site; publications; or a documentary on the history of the Museum narrated by its protagonists. At the end of the day, a year of celebration shared with those who have helped to make the Museum a success.

  • The Museum is awarded the Premio Vasco Universal 2007, granted by the Basque Government General Secretariat for External Affairs and Caja Laboral.

2008

Art

Surreal Things plunges the spectator into the dreamlike worlds of art, theater, fashion, design, architecture, and advertising, on a journey guided by the most playful artists of the Parisian avant-garde. Juan Muñoz: A Retrospective offers the most important exhibition of this artist’s sculptural work to date.

Initiatives

The Guggenheim Bilbao Collection expands both qualitatively and quantitatively with the acquisition of a remarkable painting series by Cy Twombly entitled Nine Discourses on Commodus, which explores the relationship between American and European art (one of the focal points of the Collection itself); a new sculpture by Jorge Oteiza; and twelve new works by twelve young artists, whose addition consolidates the presence of recent Basque and Spanish art in the Museum Collection.

And…

  • The show Cy Twombly is described by El Cultural as “One of the most attractive exhibitions on the Spanish cultural calendar this year.”

2009

Art

In a surprising shift, the Museum turns its attention to Asian art with two different shows: the explosion of color in ©Murakami—the largest retrospective dedicated to one of the most influential Japanese artists of recent decades—and Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want to Believe, an overview of the visual vocabulary and conceptual complexity of the Chinese artist, famed for his gunpowder drawings and explosion projects.

Initiatives

Publication of Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Collection, the first volume to feature the Museum’s artistic holdings, which to date consist of over one hundred works by more than sixty artists. International experts from different countries offer the first in-depth analysis of the works, interpreting them and placing them in their historical or artistic contexts.

And…

  • The Museum is selected to host the meeting of the Asian Art Council this year, bringing together 18 curators, artists, and international experts on modern and contemporary Asian art.

  • The 2009–2012 Strategic Plan is launched, which defines the policies and actions that will govern that four-year period as well as strategic initiatives to be pursued from now until 2020.

2010

Art

Anish Kapoor, one of the most influential sculptors on the international art scene, brings some of his most remarkable sculptures and installations to the Museum, pieces which have expanded the language of post-Minimalist art. Visitors have a chance to experience pieces created from pigment, studies of the void, works in polished stainless steel and entropic cement shapes installed on a massive scale. At the end of the year, we are taken back to the 17th-century Golden Age as Dutch and Flemish paintings from the Städel Museum flood the galleries with works by some of the great masters of this era, including most notably Jan Vermeer’s The Geographer.

Initiatives

New and important additions are made to the Guggenheim Bilbao Collection, including a series of sixteen paintings by Georg Baselitz entitled Mrs Lenin and the Nightingale (2008), considered a masterpiece of European painting by the critics, and the sculpture Working Model for Government of the People (1967) by Jacques Lipchitz, thanks to a generous donation from The Jacques & Yulla Lipchitz Foundation.

Zero Espazioa, an orientation room and a dynamic place of interaction between visitors and the Museum, opens to the public. This strategic, innovative project is equipped with interactive resources and numerous tools to make the Museum tour a truly unique experience.

And…

  • The U.S. edition of Vanity Fair magazine surveyed 52 experts, including 11 Pritzker Architecture Prize winners, and the overwhelming pick for the greatest building of the past 30 years is the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao designed by Frank Gehry.

2011

Art

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Collection gains depth with the acquisition of new works: Mona Hatoum’s Home (1999); Doris Salcedo’s Untitled (2008); and eleven portraits of smiling women from Alex Katz’s series Smiles (1994). The Museum also received the gifts of Liam Gillick’s How are you going to behave? A kitchen cat speaks (2009) and three photographs by José Manuel Ballester from his series Hidden Spaces (Espacios ocultos): May 3 (3 de mayo, 2008), The Royal Palace (Palacio Real, 2009), and The Raft of the Medusa (La balsa de la Medusa, 2010).

Initiatives

The Museum launches its new corporate website, which includes institutional information, such as the current Strategic Plan, the governing bodies, or corporate social responsibility. It also features the Museum’s biennial report of activities in 2009-2010, with data about the art program, the educational programs, the collection, self-financing, visitors, Individual and Corporate Members, and the impact of the Museum’s activity on the economy of the Basque Country.

And …

  • The Museum revamps its gastronomic offer with two new venues: the Bistró Guggenheim Bilbao and Nerua, both led by chef Josean Martínez Alija, the latter recently awarded a Michelin star.

    Chaos and Classicism and Brancusi-Serra are describen by El Cultural as two of the ten most important exhibitions in 2011.

2012

Art

The Museum’s Art Program features some important figures of contemporary art, such as David Hockney, whose exhibition is considered by the critics as one of the best in the year; Claes Oldenburg; or Egon Schiele. Also, within the context of the show Selections from the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Collection, Bilbao visitors can see for the first time one of the latest acquisitions for the Collection: Alex Katz’s series of eleven paintings entitled Smiles.

Initiatives

In order to mark the celebration of its 15th Anniversary, the Museum launches a special campaign in addition to its usual programs. Comprising numerous disciplines, such as art, music, ballet, photography, architecture, gastronomy, fashion, audiovisduals, or the social media, the campaign encompassed 50 activities and reached nearly 85,000 participants in an effort to share the celebration with all the citizens of Bilbao.

And …

  • Within the context of the Anniversary, the Museum completely revamped its website, guggenheim-bilbao.eus, with a device-sensitive format, a completely new graphic design, new functions, and more user-friendly access. The new website was granted the Buber Award to the Best Corporate Website of 2012.

  • The Museum revamps its gastronomic offer with two new venues: the Bistró Guggenheim Bilbao and Nerua, both led by chef Josean Martínez Alija, the latter recently awarded a Michelin star.

    Chaos and Classicism and Brancusi-Serra are describen by El Cultural as two of the ten most important exhibitions in 2011.

2013

Art

The Museum’s Collection welcomes Darío Urzay’s gift of an artwork and it also commissions works by Iñaki Garmendia, Erlea Maneros Zabala, and Xabier Salaberria specifically conceived for the Museum.

Initiatives

In a gesture of sensibility towards the citizens living in a globally difficult context, the Museum launches the Erdu program, designed for the unemployed who, with this new card, can enjoy the Museum’s artistic offer for free.

And …

  • The Museum starts new educational activities, such as the Art Corner, Baby Art, Books Alive! or the introductory courses of architecture for children.