• Curated by Lucía Agirre
• Dates: November 27, 2015–April 3, 2016
Having recently reached maturity, the Guggenheim Museum #bilbao presents a selection of its
artistic assets in the exhibition Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Museum #bilbao Collection,
which includes significant pieces of #contemporaryart from the second half of the 20th century.
Thus, a new approach to artistic programming is born, which answers, among other issues, the need
to have a suitable, permanent space to admire the most representative pieces of the Collection.
Among the most important works of this exhibition is the luminous Untitled (1952–53), by Mark
Rothko; Large Blue Anthropometry (ANT 105) (ca. 1960), by Yves Klein, dominated by the
unmistakable bright blue tone patented by the artist; One Hundred and Fifty Multicolored Marilyns
(1979), by Andy Warhol; Robert Rauschenberg's highly expressive, screenprinted Barge (1962–63);
and Nine Discourses on Commodus (1963), by Cy Twombly.
The Basque masters Eduardo Chillida and Jorge Oteiza provide a reference to post-war sculpture
with their works. German artists Anslem Kiefer and Gerhard Richter, as well as Americans Julian
Schnabel and Jean-Michel Basquiat, are represented in this showcase of important works.
Also included in the exhibition is a significant part of the group of canvases that make up Mother’s
Room (1995–97), by Francesco Clemente, a work that evokes the great decorative murals of
medieval and Renaissance palaces. Some important pieces reflect the return to painting that ocurred
in the 1980s, with movements like Neoexpressionism and Transavantgarde, and other works
represent the recovery of pictorial expression, like Flood (1990), by Miquel Barceló.
Gallery 304. Post-war Art
After World War II, Europe was a divided, devastated continent. Many prominent European artists
fled the desolation and found refuge in the United States. In this context, a series of painters
emerged on both sides of the Atlantic, whose diverse aesthetic proposals paved the way for a
pivotal period in the modern visual arts. One of these movements was the gestural painting of
American Abstract Expressionism, which encompassed Action painting—represented here by works
like Willem de Kooning’s Villa Borghese (1960)—as well as the style cultivated by the Color Field
painters, or “painters of silence”—seen in Mark Rothko’s Untitled (1952–53). This expressive trend
was secretly used, without the artists’ knowledge, for political purposes during the Cold War, when it
was touted as the antithesis of “rigid” Socialist Realism.
In 1953, Antoni Tàpies held his first solo show in the United States, and this brought him into close
contact with Abstract Expressionism, a movement with which he shared several things, most notably
an interest in Surrealism. In Ambrosia (1989), the Catalan artist creates a work that resembles the
surface of a wall due to the mix of ground white marble dust and pigments, as if the work was made
of the legendary nectar that brought immortality to the Greeks.
Meanwhile, new artistic interests were blossoming in the mind of the young Yves Klein, whose first
foray into painting came in Madrid, in 1954, when he published Yves Peintures , a small booklet filled
with works that did not exist and yet marked the beginning of his artistic career. In this gallery, we
can admire Large Blue Anthropometry (ANT 105) (ca. 1960) by this artist.
Gallery 301. Chillida and Oteiza
In the 1950s, two Basque sculptors loomed large on the international scene. Eduardo Chillida
received the Diploma of Honor at the Milan Triennial in 1954, and in 1958 he won the Grand Prize
for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale. Jorge Oteiza was granted the Diploma of Honor at the Milan
Triennial in 1951 and the International Sculpture Prize at the São Paulo Biennial in 1957. Though the
two artists had very different beginnings, their paths converged in several major artistic projects, like
the Aránzazu Basilica and the founding of the GAUR group, part of the Basque School movement.
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