Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bilbao's Public Art: Hola Puppy!

Even though we've left Bilbao at this point, I wanted to mention a bit about the public art in Bilbao. For whatever reason, I LOVE this sculpture, "Puppy" by Jeff Koons. It's a steel sculpture of a terrier planted with flowers (mostly pansies) that the gardeners of the museum change regularly. I am not a big fan of either terriers or pansies, but this sculpture is so big and silly, I can't help but smile whenever I see it. The Guggenheim Foundation caused quite a stir when it first installed it, but Bilbao's residents have grown to love it. I have, too. (Mark Riskedahl took all of the photos in this post.)

As I mentioned earlier, Bilbao was a very industrialized city that lost its major industries in the 1970s. After several years of economic depression, the city decided to invest in infrastructure and innovation. Its waterfront used to house a large shipbuilding industry. When the city redeveloped, it installed an amazing waterfront with pedestrian and cycling paths, a light rail system, and various art works. It also allowed the waterfront to become home to the Guggenheim Museum. Note how the museum's shape reflects the historical purposes of the industrial waterfront.

I have no idea what this spider's all about, but it sure is cool.

Finally, this is the wall of the Maritime Museum of Bilbao, which has put old ships to a new purpose. Gorgeous, no?


  1. There is a duplicate of the spider on display near the Roppongi subway station in Tokyo.

  2. Completely unrelated, but over Thanksgiving a did puzzle of the museum waterfront scene you have above...