Since the 19th century, Bilbao in northern Spain has been an industrial hub in Europe. From the iron and steel to the shipbuilding industry, Bilbao has become one of the richest towns in Spain. Unfortunately, with the late 1980s economic transition, Bilbao was forced to re-position her economic development. Writer Hemingway once described Bilbao as a dirty and smelly city when he lived there. Nowadays, she has become an international and cultural city!
Date back to the late 1980s, Bilbao government had put a lot of effort into urban redevelopment. In just a few years, the government had not only empowered Bilbao but also raised $ 50 million for a fund of artwork collection. They also invited Guggenheim Organization to set up a museum in Bilbao and prepared € 85 million to build it. The space of Guggenheim Museum Bilbao was 32,500 square meters and it included 19 exhibition rooms. The footage of exhibition space is 11,000 square meters in total. After evaluating, the government invited Frank Gailey (Frank O. Gehry), a famous architect in North America, to design the museum. The New York Times called the museum as "the most important building" and it was the masterpiece of the deconstructive architecture of its time. It has become a new landmark in Spain since it opened in 1997. Guggenheim Museum Bilbao attracts millions of visitors from all over the world every year. To everyone's delight, it will be the 20th anniversary for Guggenheim Museum Bilbao next year.
Now there are 110 pieces of artworks in Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, including masters of abstract expressionism such as Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning, American artists Cy Twombly and Spanish national sculptor Eduardo Chilleda. It also collects artworks by German new expressionism artists such as Polke Sigmar and Anselm Kiefer. Besides, visitors could admire the works of rising artists in the 1960s and 1970s such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Gilbert & George, Julian Schnabel from America and Christian Boltanski from French. They could also see the works of Mona Hatoum, an English born Palestinian artist, who had just finished her solo exhibition in Paris in 2016.