Archive for “Guggenheim Bilbao”

Guggenheim Bilbao requests removal of public installation

Bilbao, 14 April 2014, Art Media Agency (AMA).

The Guggenheim Bilbao has requested that a large public work, produced as part of a Frankfurt-based exhibition by artists Paul McCarthy and Mike Bouchet, be dismantled.

Entitled Bilbao Battleship Billboard, the piece depicts an inverted image of the Frank Gehry-designed museum, digitally altered to resemble two heavily-gunned ships.  The work is to be removed from is current location at a busy intersection in Bilbao, following complaints from the museum which, according to The Art Newspaper, wrote to Marlborough Chelsea (Bouchet’s representative gallery), claiming that the piece “includes connotations that discredit the institution”.

The work forms part of “Powered A-Hole Spanish Donkey Sport Dick Drink Donkey Dong Dongs Sunscreen Model”, a group exhibition of works by McCarthy and Bouchet, which runs until 20 April. According to the Frankfurt gallery’s website, the show uses military imagery to explore “the US domination of the visual arts industry since World War II”.

The Guggenheim has denied any claims of censorship, describing the banner as a commercial piece devoid of an artist’s signature, which misappropriated a copyrighted image of the institution.

Achieving the Bilbao Effect: the impact of the museum on a city

Paris, 20 March 2014, Art Media Agency (AMA).

The impact a new museum can have upon its city stretches far beyond creating a new space to showcase an art collection. We seem to be relying on our institutions more than ever, channeling a vast amount of responsibility into them to regenerate neighbourhoods, provide international interest, and inspire a generation of people. Yet at the same time, cultural budgets continue to be cut and governments continue to doubt the significance of a strong cultural scene on the local economy. Are museums always the answer when a city is failing? Are we overstating the extent of their influence – and what is it about an institution in particular that can have such a profound effect on a city’s infrastructure?

New museums now can almost be considered to be a work of art themselves. Each new design aims to be bigger, more elaborate and more iconic than the last. Clearly, a new institution reconfigures the space around it, reclaiming what was empty or private space into public space, and instilling new purpose within the urban landscape. Museum directors are now increasingly relying on the raw building becoming a spectacle, the architecture just as much as the art drawing people in. Architects like Renzo Piano, Zaha Hadid and Herzog & de Meuron have become household names in the design of institutions, known for creating innovative, eye-catching forms that will both entice the public and complement the works within them. Yet a plan can be pushed too far – it is all too often a delicate balance between creating a grand show of the exterior, flaunting a museum’s collection, and overshadowing the art or overlooking a viewing gallery’s basic requirements.

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art’s new Herta & Paul Amir Building, which opened in 2011, was conceived to reorganise a public space that had, up until that point, been dominated by 1970s Brutalist architecture.  Harvard professor Preston Scott Cohen’s intricate geometric design certainly broke away from convention. The 19,000m2 building, which is essentially a triangular model on a rectangular plot, was widely praised for its groundbreaking approach, yet some felt that the structure’s real purpose was lost in all the hype surrounding its bricks and mortar. Esther Zandberg wrote in Israeli newspaper Haaretz in 2011, after the building’s opening: “The Tel Aviv Museum needed to expand, but instead of a building to do the job, it chose a building that would create a buzz. And so now it finds itself with a new type of building, [...] unnecessarily complex, for which filling a role is not its foremost concern.” In Zandberg’s opinion, the complicated structure both made it difficult to orient oneself in the museum, and diverted from focusing one’s attention on the displays. Furthermore, she argued that hopes that the museum would catapult Tel Aviv into the status of a world city were inconsequential, and that its impact would only extend to placing Tel Aviv “on the cover of a few more glossy journals”.

In the long process of architectural competitions, refining plans, contracting and construction, trends can come and go before a project is even completed. Institutions need to be fresh and innovative in order to create excitement and attract visitors, but they also need to stand the test of time. The Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Art (MMPVA), designed by Sir David Chipperfield and forecast to open in 2016, could very well fulfil these qualities. Despite being the largest freestanding museum in the world dedicated to photography, once completed, the plans show it to sit harmoniously within its environment, thanks to the architect’s rendering of the building in the city’s traditional red sandstone. Its clean lines and cut-out forms make it innovative enough to be remarkable in its own right, but never detract from the art that is to be showcased within it. It will be interesting to see how the city receives the project once it is finished.

Of course, museums don’t just have a physical responsibility to their environment, but a social one. These spaces need to not only attract but retain people, providing meeting places, cultural stimulation, and educational enlightenment. Increasingly, the museum is becoming a sort of “complex”, including theatres, educational facilities, shops and restaurants in their plans. Designs for The Broad museum in Los Angeles, opening in 2015, emphasise the “porous” quality of the architecture; Liz Diller, of Diller Scofidio + Renfro architects, explaining: “The veil will play a role in the urbanization of Grand Avenue by activating two-way views that connect the museum and the street.” This blending of public and private space anchors institutions within the social landscape of the city.

Returning to the museum’s primary function as a centre of culture, its social impact is evident. It is this notion of culture that creates a collective “buzz” surrounding institutions, in the build-up to openings, exhibitions and events. People are drawn together to see art, on both a local and international level. Digital tools available now, such as social media and smartphone apps, are indispensable in turning the museum into an attraction. Sometimes, this collective energy can re-energise an entire city, as is currently being seen in Doha, Qatar.

Qatar is in the throes of experiencing a kind of cultural explosion – substantial investment in the country’s arts sector has seen the burgeoning of several new museums, notably the National Museum of Qatar, designed by Jean Nouvel and set to open in December; the MATHAF – Arab Museum of Modern Art, by the French architect Jean-François Bodin, which opened in 2010; and the Museum of Islamic Art, designed by I.M. Pei and opened in November 2008, which describes itself as “dedicated to being the foremost museum of Islamic art in the world”. In Doha’s case, planners have not relied on one sole institution to carry the weight of transforming the city into a cultural capital, but created a series of high-calibre, complementary establishments that work together as one body. Considerable international exposure can manifest its social impact upon a city in several ways, filtering down to emerging artists and creators on a local level. One of the Qatar Museums Authority’s mission statements is “fostering national pride and engaging in cultural diplomacy on behalf of the State and in trust for the people of Qatar”. As the concept of the museum expands to encompass educational and research facilities, offering programmes and careers to people, their social effects are perpetuated.

In regeneration projects, museums’ social and economic influences become blurred. The impact of the opening of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao in 1997 cannot be overstated, widely referred to now as the “Bilbao Effect”. Frank Gehry’s admired and innovative structure breathed new life into the city’s defunct port area, more or less reversing the severe industrial decline it was suffering in the 1990s. In fact, the €133 million invested in the project achieved complete return as a result of tax revenue from tourism, less than five years after construction was completed.

The Bilbao Effect can be perceived in projects such as the the Louvre Lens (France), the Lowry in Salford Quays (UK), the Denver Art Museum (US) and the Saadiyat Island development in Abu Dhabi (UAE). These are examples which demonstrate both a revitalisation of past industrial centres, but also a gravitation towards new centres of economic activity. In comparison to the original chronology of the Guggenheim Bilbao, the Bilbao Effect tends to be a secondary result after physical and social aspects have come into play. Not all museums are able to generate enough of a return for a city to sustain themselves and the environment around them: we only have to look at what’s currently happening with the Detroit Institute of Arts to see that this is true. In Detroit’s case, the public was divided over whether a museum was the answer for a failing city – was it more worthy of financial support than other sites? Whilst it eventually received the backing it needed, it seems a big ask of one institution to rescue an entire place which is no longer a hub of economic activity.

These new economic centres draw institutions to them, which in turn help to further growth and revenue in these areas. The Broad is being built in Downtown LA, on a street which is undergoing considerable redevelopment, and is now also home to the Guggenheim-esque Walt Disney Concert Hall, also designed by Frank Gehry. Grand Avenue is in fact part of a larger regeneration of the whole Downtown area, which is seeing money being pumped into projects to make a destination out of them. Bilbao demonstrated that a museum can be an important addition to a city’s revitalisation plans. In Salford, on the outskirts of Manchester, UK, the opening of the Lowry art gallery and theatre complex in 2000 in the once-derelict Manchester Docks created a new hub of interest outside of the city centre. According to the Manchester Evening News, the Lowry was Greater Manchester’s most visited tourist attraction in both 2010 and 2011. Yet the Lowry has become just one element of a kind of snowball effect for Salford Quays: in 2012 the BBC moved several of its broadcasting departments into its MediaCity complex in the area, comprising 2,700 staff. The move signalled a decentralising focus for the BBC away from London, and further confirmed Salford’s status as a culturally and economically rich location.

The museum is progressively representative of a city’s gentrification – showy symbols of wealth and investment. As institutions reclaim and transform public space, they thus reconfigure the identity of a city. In fact, all factors – architectural, social and economic – are interchangeable, as a museum requires significant initial investment in order to yield both financial and cultural return. Striking architecture can act as the kind of hook for the public, but, as demonstrated in Tel Aviv, must be reinforced by a constant focus on the quality of the artwork, educational programmes, and visitor experience. Museums also must enter into a mutual economic exchange with their location, with each side generating exposure and capital for the other. In the 21st century, the most successful museums, which go on to truly transform the infrastructure of their environment, must demonstrate their capacity to make an impact on a physical, social, and economic level – both locally and internationally.

Forum d’Avignon Bilbao: Art, Life and the City

Bilbao, 14 March 2014, Art Media Agency (AMA).

The first Forum d’Avignon Bilbao took place between the 6 and 7 March 2014 at the AlhóndigaBilbao, a space designed by Philippe Starck. This comes after the second Forum d’Avignon Ruhr in Essen, influenced by the model inaugurated in 2008 in France, and forms part of a cycle of conferences and debates dedicated to developing the role of culture in the city.

The opening, led by local and international organisers of the Forum d’Avignon, highlighted the importance of culture with regards to the development of cities and the competition they face in terms of attracting industry and population growth.  It emphasised the idea that culture should be perceived as an investment rather than an expense. Bilbao, a pertinent example with regards to this, formed the basis of discussion during the two-day event. A city suffering severe industrial decline in the 1990s, with 25% unemployment, Bilbao was transformed both by the construction of the Guggenheim Museum and the city-wide redevelopment program which ensued. The €133 million invested generated a greater GDP within the first year and achieved complete return on investment as a result of tax revenue less than five years after its completed construction.

The introduction to the Forum subsequently adopted a strong stance in favour of the strengthening of culture in Europe, particularly by way of more substantial budgets. To this end, organisers invited participants to become ambassadors of the values proposed by the Forum in their own countries and provinces.

Different panels were then asked to focus on individual aspects of the link beween art and the city, allowing each speaker to present their experience from an individual perspective. These presentations were then followed by Q&A sessions.

The first roundtable discussion was entitled “Dialogue between what is public and private in the field of creation”. The first speaker, Jean Blaise, presented the example of Nantes, demonstrating how the city had successfully undergone renewal as a result of multiple medium-sized artistic projects (infrastructure, biennials, festivals, and so forth). Previously a city with few notable attributes, it decided to use culture as a means of developing its economy, tourism and social industry. The local authorities invited artists to work on the subject of the city, something which gave them the opportunity to explore the history and features of Nantes, thus indirectly becoming “ambassadors” for the city. Another prevalent idea was to come up with new “points of view” in the form of artistic interventions in specific places within the city. Intervention in the public space allowed for the “democratisation” of culture, everyone having unlimited access to the works. These “points of view” equally provided citizens with the opportunity to become “tourists” and “discoverers” of their own city, despite the ongoing controversy which arose as a result (particularly with regards to heritage). Blaise concluded his speech by denoting the benefits of creating partnerships between the public and private, both in order to reduce budgets and to allow businesses to be associated with such projects, ultimately creating strong social links. Nantes was thus put forward as an excellent example of integrating art into all spectrums of the city.

The presentation given by Katrín Jakobsdóttir, the former Minister for Education, Science and Culture in Iceland could have been entitled “What politicians can learn from the creative industries”. During the economic crisis of 2008 — which particularly affected Iceland, which suffered the worst banking collapse in history — the Icelandic population astonishingly turned to culture (cinema, theatre, art, etc.). Despite the enormous reduction in its national budget, Iceland decided to continue to finance its culture – for example, increasing the number of state-funded artists from 12,000 to 16,000, or making donations towards the completion of the Harpagon Concert Hall. Its policy sparked criticism relative to the “waste” of money on projects such as these. However, the critical message remains that cultural industries have a significant impact on the economy, forging links within society and enriching the lives of the city’s inhabitants.

Gail Lord, co-founder of Lord Cultural Resources, expressed her views during the Forum, using several of her own specific projects as examples to substantiate her points. She stated that the private and public sectors are increasingly — particularly recently — interlinked. Faced with a low budget, the “Sustainable Chicago 2015″ project called upon local involvement at a grassroots level. More than 40,000 people took part in the project in total. What has clearly emerged from “Sustainable Chicago 2015″ is that neighbourhoods want to be recognised individually, allowing for their identities to be taken into account with regards to artistic planning. In a second example, she revealed that $10 million was raised as a result of a Billboard Tax initiative undertaken by young, local artists. These artists had discovered that there were no taxes imposed upon billboards used for advertising, claiming that these actually “defaced” the public space. After years of legal debate, tax of this sort has been definitively imposed and now raises $1 million per year, illustrating that artists can provoke social change.

Following the Q&A sessions, the speakers reconvened in order to tackle the need to convert large national projects into smaller, more local projects. Amongst other issues, the importance of education and the need to understand society as a creative whole were raised, particular emphasis placed on the fact that artists are themselves citizens.

The first panel clarified the importance of culture for the development of cities; on a large scale, it highlighted the role of large projects in uniting citizens, creating visibility and attracting new talent, whilst it also emphasised the necessity of smaller projects in the quest to democratise art and culture on a local level.

The second discussion was entitled “Artists as promoters of cultural and social change in our cities”, focusing on the role of artists in the city. The first speaker, Jochen Sandig, Artistic Director of Radialsystem in Berlin, stressed that it is in the public interest to work with people, using his own project as an example, which involved 40,000 people. Artists are, according to him, citizens like everybody else, and it is fundamental to retain empty spaces in order to sustain creativity. Jochen Sandig finished his presentation by posing the question: how can creative cities stay creative?

Txomin Badiola, a Basque artist committed to the cause, came to defend the rights of artists to be political agents. He raised questions — although his opinion on the subject seemed very clear — about the idea of culture as an industry. In his view, capitalism is increasingly blind to all factors other than those which are economic and, at best, societal elements of cultural policy. Furthermore, he suggested that artists, as ambassadors of change, should always be in opposition to political and economic powers. Badiola added, regretfully — admitting that there is no solution to the problem — that artists are always torn between a gruelling need to fit within the market, in order to earn money, and the political aspect – resisting the powers in place for the greater advantage and advancement of society.

The topic of the renewal of cities was then undertaken by Beatriz García from Barcelona, a researcher in urban sociology with a focus on cultural policy at the University of Liverpool. In 2008, Liverpool became the European Capital of Culture, something which had an extensive economic and social impact on the city. The event considerably transformed the image of the city, felt both by outsiders as well as its inhabitants, and attracted international media attention. Beatriz García placed emphasis on the fundamental need for local involvement; 70% of artists who participated in the project were local.

Alfonso Santiago, Director of Last Tour International, a music festival in Bilbao, placed an importance on the presence of live events in the city. In his view, festivals can only survive if they are successfully integrated into city life, irrespective of their appeal to tourists. The Bilbao Festival, for example, made a total contribution of €16 million to the city in 2013. These events are popular, even in times of financial crisis, and are therefore important vehicles for a city’s economic development.

The notion of the “city as brand” came to the fore repeatedly throughout the conference. Even if the reality of this concept depends greatly on the size of the city itself, and even if clear benefits can be drawn from it (economic factors, reputation and local pride), many questions arose from the idea. Does the city define the event or does the event define the city? Does a brand, in its necessary simplification of the concept of a city, hide the reality and true diversity to be found in the urban space?

The second panel was very assertive in its statements, and consequently provoked rich discussion. Primarily, it questioned the role of the artist in the political and social ecosystem. Secondly, it raised the issue of local “resources” (artists) and of allowing for there to be the space for creativity to flourish without imposing too many restrictions. Finally, it highlighted the prominence of large events in their ability to attract tourist attention and simultaneously construct a history and local pride. It also emphasised that true “cultural transformation” requires time and implies public participation.

At the end of the first day, participants were invited to follow one of the three coloured umbrellas, each guiding them towards a different symbolic place in the revival of Bilbao: the Guggenheim Museum, the symbol of the city’s artistic ambition; Bilbao La Vieja, one of the most creative neighbourhoods in the city; and the Zorrotzaurre, the next large urban project: the transformation of a currently derelict site into a new, modern neighbourhood in Bilbao, thought up by Zaha Hadid.

The third roundtable discussion, the following day, was entitled “Cities as a driving force for cultural change in Europe”, which explored the challenges faced by European cities in terms of cultural binaries: global versus local and creation versus conservation, amongst other dualities.

Guadalupe Echevarria, Cultural Director of Donostia/San Sebastián, European Capital of Culture in 2016, reflected on the (mainly material) needs of artists, to which the cities hosting them would have to respond. Very often, the basic needs of artists are ignored; infrastructures, an interesting social and intellectual environment and an effective market ecosystem (galleries, dealers, fairs, etc.) are among such fundamental requirements. Regarding this, Berlin was given as an effective example; Brussels was equally mentioned due to its central geographic location, its multilingualism and its close access to strong collectors’ “markets”.

Patricia Brown, Director of London-based consultancy firm Central, used the city of London as an example to advocate for artists’ ability to leave their personal imprint on the city. From a metropolis dominated by cars, London has become a city which places pedestrians and bicycles at the centre. The newly-liberated spaces (particularly parking spaces) have risen to the demographic challenge. Already with a population of 8.5 million, London will likely be home to 10 million inhabitants by 2030. The British capital is not the only one to take action against the large number of vehicles in the city; New York and Paris are following in the same direction. Newly-created spaces link economic activity and residential spaces. Patricia Brown equally highlights the importance of working with city-dwellers and being shrewd: delays in construction works as a result of the economic crisis can be put to use (whilst waiting for work to recommence) as places for the emancipation of creativity. The arts and culture industry is in fact the second most lucrative sector after finance in London.

Corinne Hermant de Callataÿ, General Director for Regional and Urban Policy at the European Commission, later focused on the particular involvement of culture in urban policy. She began by reiterating several basic truths (actually the only person to mention these): conglomerations experience profound, cyclical changes in their planning methods, boundaries and even in their jurisdictional procedures; cities have different systems in place depending on their size; suburbs – of equal importance – are often forgotten in these processes. The European Commission budget for public programmes related to cities in Europe, between 2007 and 2013, rose to €6 billion. The current trend shows a concentration of these programmes, as is proved by the examples of Naples, Lille and Brussels. The conclusion to this relatively technical presentation was a resounding “culture is the soul of cities”.

According to Évelyne Lehalle, Director of Nouveau Turisme Culturel, Nice, over half of those who make use of cultural infrastructures do so as tourists. This represents €15 billion in France, 8% of the GDP, a phenomenon which has grown by 5% on a global scale. Yet it is rarely the cultural protagonists who benefit from this. Evelyne Lehalle later raised the question of the digital age and its existence as both a challenge (as a result of e-visitors who consume culture without ever physically going to cultural sites) and an opportunity (thanks to a direct and easily tailored access for visitors). Finally, she called upon listeners to turn towards young people and city inhabitants in order to improve and diversify the tourist domain.

In the light of these presentations, it became evident that cities must meet several different, specific requirements: those of artists, tourists and above all, their inhabitants. Art has the potential to be a lever for urban development, however artists have basic needs which must be met in order for them to be able to live. Finally, the undisputable fact emerged that trust must be placed in artists and city-dwellers to lead social development in cities and to be ambassadors for tourism.

The fourth and final discussion, entitled “The city in progress, a future ecosystem”, did not seek to assimilate these points of view, but rather explored different examples of cities undergoing change.

The presentation given by Tarek Cherkaoui, Chief Strategy Officer of the Qatar Museums Authority, suggested a rather utopic vision — that a city can actively situate itself in the world. The concept of a “hub” was emphasised, using five hubs in Qatar as a basis: Investment (from future opportunities), Knowledge (via the Qatar Foundation), Transit (through the airport terminal of Doha and Qatar Airways), Media and Political (primarily through Al Jazeera) and Cultural (thanks to QMA). This policy does, however, require investments of great magnitude ($100 billion relating to culture). Tarek Cherkaoui presented art as being a highly important factor within development plans, and not something to be considered as an afterthought. In Qatar, the emphasis was placed on public art in spaces dedicated to artistic expression (for example the conversion of sites no longer in use into places dedicated to hosting artists in residence: the Firehouse – a former firestation – or an old fishing village). Tarek Cherkaoui admitted that all investments of this sort were made in order to attract international spectators – the challenge being to consolidate international taste and demand whilst still preserving Qatar’s historic style. In any case, Qatar’s goal is fundamentally to associate art, culture and economic growth.

An even more original presentation was to follow. Beatriz Colomina, a historian of architecture at Princeton University, proposed a study which defined the concept of the city as emanating from the image. On the premise that images are present in all aspects of city life, and that the superimposition of these images has now become a natural inclusion within the city aesthetic, Colomina concluded that today  “the city has entered into the bed”, even if there seemingly exists a great gap between the two. Everyone is the curator of everything, for themselves and for those around them. How to define the nature of things? What is public and what is private? What is in the city domain and what resides in the home? What belongs to the day and what belongs to the night? Her energetic, passionate and even humorous presentation enchanted the auditorium, which welcomed her exceptionally refreshing approach.

Juan Diego, Secretary General of the Bilbao Bizkaia Design & Creativity Council, far more sober in tone, presented the renewal of Bilbao made possible through the 25 projects which the city organised for the 25-year anniversary of its renovation. This project highlighted creativity as the principal solution for the renewal of cities, and diversity as the inspiration behind such creativity. Diego emphasised the need for economic renewal to complement the development of infrastructure, without which the city runs the risk of becoming a beautiful place void of meaningful activity. Throughout his address, the act of storytelling came to the fore as an important factor in effective communication.

Again, it is clear that the various speeches of this last roundtable discussion did not aim to reach a consensus. On the contrary, these differing visions demonstrated that great investment in culture and, more generally, in a city’s quality of life does exist and work, and therefore can be hailed as a great success.

Overall, this first edition of the Forum d’Avignon Bilbao can be deemed a success: the pertinent speakers from a variety of fields demonstrating a wide range of knowledge and resulting in several intellectually-charged debates.

This being said, the audience would have benefited from greater interaction between the different participants and spectators. In brief, a more carefully managed system in terms of speaker-spectator interaction would have been a welcome addition to be considered for the future.

Nevertheless, several points clearly emerged from the debates. Primarily — expressed several times throughout the Forum — the importance of culture in the city as an indispensable economic catalyst for the promotion of tourism, as much as a key player in the forging of social links and a source of pride for locals. In times of crisis, culture seems to be the short-term, mid-term and – most-importantly – long-term solution. Furthermore, the concepts of local culture came out on top as opposed to a focus on international style. In this sense, the question of Europe as a whole was strangely left untouched, aside from a financial allusion to it. Overall, and perhaps this is the human message in all this, it was advised that cities who wished to use culture as a means of differentiation should leave a certain margin for improvisation, taking care to avoid excessive rigidity; above all, confidence in the city itself emanating for the most part from the ability to rely on its citizens and artists.

Overall, the targeted approach of this Forum can be said to be responsible for the extent of its success. It allowed for a fine-tuned but all-encompassing focus on the subject, leaving no area untouched. It is hoped that the success of Forum d’Avignon Bilbao will allow it to be repeated again next year.

Ernesto Neto at Guggenheim Bilbao

Bilbao, 19 February 2014, Art Media Agency (AMA).

From 14 February to 15 May 2014, Guggenheim Bilbao is presenting the exhibition “The body that carries me” (“El cuerpo que me lleva”), a retrospective dedicated to work by the artist Ernesto Neto.

Drawing on works from 1990 to 2013, the exhibition is to present a broad selection of around a hundred works from Ernesto Neto’s artistic catalogue. Many of the works included in the exhibition are immensely tall and have had to be reconfigured to enable them to be successfully exhibited in the gallery space. One such work, Leviathan Thot, was exhibited in the Pantheon in Paris in 2006 and has had to be adapted for its installation in the museum’s atrium.

The exhibition hopes to pay homage to Ernesto Neto’s unique visual language embodied in his works. They encourage the viewer to interact on an intensely personal level, facilitating movement and sensory experience. The artist’s polymorphus, organic sculptures create an aesthetic and poetic experience which is highly synesthetic.

Yoko Ono at Guggenheim Bilbao

Bilbao, 18 February 2014, Art Media Agency (AMA).

From 14 March, the Guggenheim Bilbao is to present “Yoko Ono. Half-A-Wind Show. Retrospective”, to feature around 200 works, produced across the artist’s 50 year career.

Pieces on display highlight the materially diverse nature of Ono’s practice, which comprises poetry, film, drawing, installation, performance and music. A number of recent pieces are also to be displayed, including a new version of the installation  and performance piece Moving Mountains.

Yoko Ono was born in Tokyo (Japan) in 1933, and spent her childhood in Japan and the United States. She is considered to be both an accomplished visual artist and a pioneer of performance art who, for some time, has been linked to the Fluxus movement.


Inhabiting the life and works of Ernesto Neto

Bilbao, 19 November 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA).

From 14 February to 18 March 2014, the Guggenheim Bilbao is to welcome an exhibition of works by Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto entitled “Ernesto Neto: The Body that Carries Me”.

The artist, who defines himself as a sculptor, creates artworks that the visitor must experience through mind, body and spirit. The artist offers his audience a phenomenological approach; they can inhabit, feel and even smell his artworks. The viewer actively aids and participates in this fusion between sculpture and architecture.

According to the artist, “What we have in common is more important than what makes us different. I like to discuss the situation of humanity, the temperature of the things we experience. The movement of things. The language. [...] We are constantly receiving information, but here, I want you to stop thinking. Take refuge in art. I think that not thinking is good, it allows you to breathe in life.”

Neto was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1964, where he has lived and worked since. The body, space and matter are all fundamental elements of his artistic process, and his installations completely encompass the spaces in which they are presented.