The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents Jenny Holzer: Thing Indescribable, a survey of work by one of the most outstanding artists of our time. Sponsored by the Fundación BBVA, this exhibition features new works, including a series of light projections on the facade of the museum, which can be viewed each night from March 21 to March 30.
Holzer’s work has been part of the museum’s fabric since its beginnings, in the form of the imposing Installation for Bilbao(1997). Installed in the atrium, the work—commissioned for the museum’s opening—is made up of nine luminous columns, each more than 12 meters high. Since last year, this site-specific work has been complemented by Arno Pair(2010), a set of engraved stone benches gifted to the museum by the artist.
The reflections, ideas, arguments, and sorrows that Holzer has articulated over a career of more than 40 years will be presented in a variety of distinct installations, each with an evocative social dimension. Her medium—whether emblazoned on a T-shirt, a plaque, a painting, or an LED sign—is language. Distributing text in public space is an integral aspect of her work, starting in the 1970s with posters covertly pasted throughout New York City and continuing in her more recent light projections onto landscape and architecture.
Visitors to this exhibition will experience the evolving scope of the artist’s practice, which addresses the fundamental themes of human existence—including power, violence, belief, memory, love, sex, and killing. Her art speaks to a broad and ever-changing public through unflinching, concise, and incisive language. Holzer’s aim is to engage the viewer by creating evocative spaces that invite a reaction, a thought, or the taking of a stand, leaving the sometimes anonymous artist in the background.
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao was the result of an extraordinary partnership between the Basque Institutions and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. More than a decade after its grand opening in October 1997, the Museum is a reality that has exceeded the most ambitious artistic and cultural expectations, and has contributed in an extraordinary way to the urban, economic, and social regeneration of the city of Bilbao and its surroundings.
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is part of an international constellation of museums, which allows it to access an extensive Permanent Collection comprised from all the works in the Guggenheim collections, including the Bilbao holdings. These works complement one another and, together, offer an in-depth, expanded view of modern and contemporary art. The Art Program is comprised from presentations from the Permanent Collection and a program of high quality special exhibitions, which offer our audiences a broad and dynamic panorama of the art of our time.
Designed by US architect Frank Gehry, the Museum building is a large sculpture made of titanium, limestone, and glass, and has become the most recognizable icon of the city of Bilbao. The exhibition galleries, some boasting surprising shapes, others with orthogonal configurations, are organized around a spectacular Atrium, crowned with a metallic flower over its skylight.
The complex and mutually enriching dialogue between the art exhibited and the architecture of the building, and the versatility of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao spaces favor a unique museum experience.
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