01 February 2016


... un encuentro de titanes.

Dibujando paralelos.

"To calculate the exact cost to Euskadi taxpayers of the Bilbao Guggenheim is complicated, or perhaps the leadership wants it to be complicated. The figure usually mentioned is $100 million, which is equal to $56 US Dlls for each citizen. After paying for the building the Basques also agreed to pay the Guggenheim for using the Guggenheim name on the building. Furthermore, the Guggenheim Foundation chooses the art for the Bilbao museum. The survey of twentieth-century art that made up the initial exhibit seemed like leftovers from the Guggenheim warehouse."

"The museum, with the exception of a few Chillida pieces, pays no homage to Basque art. Even Picasso's geat tribut to Basque suffering, Guernica, was not made available for the opening. Officials at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, where it hangs, said that it could not be moved because it was too delicate for the journey. But many speculated that the Madrileños feared the Basques would never give the painting back- a fear rooted in the almost self-evident fact that it belongs in a major musuem of twentieth-century art only a few miles from Guernica"

"And yet, the Basque National Party got what is wanted out of the project. Arzallus said that it was expensive, but it was cheap for what we got. When decided to do it everyone was against it. But then, it was argued that in the center of Bilbao would be a center of modern Europe..... then we say the light. It is an important building. Everyone recognises that it is a great building, greater than what it is in it."

Ramón Labayen, who was the Basque government's minister of culture at the time the project was first proposed, said, "It is a great opening up to the world." To bring the world to them was seen as far more important to the Basque than promoting themselves to the world. An internationally prestigious American building would do more to make them a nation than a brilliant display of Basque art. By the time the museum opened in October 1997, Bilbao was a city with a lot of plans. But they rarely included the word culture, except in the phrase industrial culture. "From the beginning we wanted something more than culture. It is an investment", said Mayor Ortuando. "It will be easier to attract investments because of the Guggenheim."  

Text extracts from:
"The Basque History of World" by Mark Kurlansky. 
Pinguin Books.USA.
(thank you Mark, brilliant little book)

Guillermo Aranda-Mena@2016
Text extracts from:
"The Basque History of World" by Mark Kurlansky. 
Pinguin Books. USA.