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Bilbao's commitment to artistic expression is intimately tied to the shift in the model of urban and economic development.

Not only is the Guggenheim Museum able to attract the most sophisticated contemporary art shows, but both the Fine Arts Museum and Bilbao Arte Foundation have also displayed a spectacular renewal, promoting programmes to produce and disseminate art of all types.


Art in the street

Wandering around Bilbao, one can enjoy works by artists who let their imagination fly, turning the city into a veritable open air museum.

Such artists as: Salvador DALI, Eduardo CHILLIDA, Jorge OTEIZA, Miquel NAVARRO, Manolo VALDES, Jeef KOONS, Louise BORGOISE, Vicente LARREA, and many more, offer a fresh and novel perspective to a number of sites around the city.


Urban Equipment

This section covers urban elements such as benches, litter bins, tree grates, street lights, bollards, bus-stops, signage, and so on.

Discover the city's identifiers, which more often than not go unnoticed.



The concept of design is so wide and varied that sometimes the boundary between art and other artistic disciplines becomes very thin, or even non-existent.

With design as its leitmotiv, this section is intended to be a hodgepodge of topics.


Bilbao Art District

Bilbao Art District is born, a joint initiative of the galleries, museums and art major agents of the city, with the participation, support and cooperation of the City of Bilbao and the Provincial Council of Biscay.




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Messages off the Wall Posters in the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum Collection (1886-1975)

06|10|15 • 18|01|16 BBK Gallery

The poster as we know it began to take shape in the second half of the 19th century, at a time of major economic, political and social change that would eventually lead to the  appearance of a new mercantile order, the proliferation of brands and new consumer habits. In this context, for over a century the poster provided a response to the need to advertise events and political ideas and to promote specific products or tourist destinations.

Messages off the Wall: Posters in the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum Collection (1886-1975) is to feature more than two hundred works from the Museum’s large, but little known collection of old posters. Selecting the posters for the show is Mikel Bilbao Salsidua, professor at the Department of Art History and Music at the UPV, the University of the Basque Country.

Featured are works by pioneers of the modern poster like Jules Chéret, Théophile Alexandre Steinlen and Eugène Grasset, as well as samples of the work of great, internationally acclaimed designers such as Leonetto Cappiello, Paul Colin, Jean Carlu, Charles Loupot, Ludwig Hohlwein, Raymond Savignac, Saul Bass, Milton Glaser, Roiman Cieslewicz, Giovanni Pintori, Jan Lenica, Armando Testa and Shigeo Fukuda. Into the mix goes a significant batch of Basque posters, which give an insight into the work done in advertising by major painters like Adolfo Guiard, Aurelio Arteta, Antonio de Guezala and Elías Salaverría. A number of leading commercial artists, including Rafael de Penagos, Federico Ribas, Emilio Ferrer, Josep Morell, Manolo Prieto and Josep Artigas, are also represented.

The exhibition dates, 1886-1975, mark the year of the oldest poster, by Adolfo Guiard (Bilbao, 1860-1916) in 1886, and several posters from 1975, including Victory 1945 by prestigious graphic designer Shigeo Fukuda (Tokyo, 1932-2009).

Posters are grouped into seven areas, tourism, bullfighting, commercial, sporting, politics and war, fairs, exhibitions and congresses and finally culture and entertainment, to enable us to appreciate the way posters, advertising and graphic design evolved over the years and how receptive they were to the varied artistic idioms of the 19th and 20th centuries. This is, then, a long and rewarding journey through a century of posters, objects originally designed for rapid consumption but which, despite everything, soon became collectors’ items.