During the time I was in Bilbao, I only walked around the city, as well as entered two museums. After all, I was there for a conference, and not for sight-seeing. Nevertheless, I was able to enter the Guggenheim Museum as well as the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum. Photos were not allowed inside the former, but was definitely allowed in the latter. Here are some of my pictures.
Bilbao wasn't in the traveler's radar until recently, when the city transformed itself from a grim industrial city, to a city that is known for architecture, arts, and food. The Guggenheim Museum features plenty of modern artwork, pieces that would make you think, and pieces that are provoking and intriguing. The Bilbao Fine Arts Museum on the other hand is less specialized, having a broader collection, spanning multiple centuries. Though I must say, that I was quite impressed with the temporary exhibitions that were on during the time I visited.
The temporary exhibition that was on display during the time I visited had something to do with hyper-realism. These were statues that were meant to look real, like real human beings. So I saw nude statues on tables, sitting on chairs, lying down on the floor, and the details were plain amazing. You really had to do a double-take sometimes to see that these were just statues, and not real people who were simply frozen. The above photos show a sample of what these statues look like.
The permanent exhibitions survey art as it developed during the years. If you follow the suggested order of rooms to visit, then you will see how art slowly evolved, from something based in religion, eventually detaching itself from the sacred into the profane, and into the abstract, as is the case with most modern art.
Plan to spend about two hours in here. There's plenty to see, but you also don't want to have art fatigue. The museum has a deal with the Guggenheim Museum, as they offer a combined ticket. If you're planning on visiting both museums, this is a deal, as purchasing the two tickets separately is more costly.