The Line of Wit presents a focused selection of work characterized as humorous, clever, experimental, and inquisitive in nature. Ranging from the 1950s to the present, these works employ unusual materials and techniques, and playfully defy aesthetic conventions demonstrating ingenuity and wit. Bringing together artists of different generations working across a variety of media, the exhibition includes rarely seen treasures and beloved works from the Guggenheim Bilbao’s permanent collection alongside key long-term loans, some of which have never before been on view in the Museum. The mixing of high and low, ordinary and sublime, humor and earnestness can be traced throughout the exhibition challenging hierarchies that underpin the fine arts.

Organized thematically, the exhibition is structured in three distinct sections that embrace the experimental nature of artmaking through a cohesive selection of works by significant postwar and contemporary artists.

The Line of Wit presents a survey of works spanning various styles and movements centered on specific themes that explore ingenuity, experimentation, and distinctive artistic practices. Installed in dialogue with one another, these artworks offer the possibility to contemplate the critical choices artists make in selecting materials and techniques, thereby attesting to their artistic methodology and individual process.

Curator: Lekha Hileman Waitoller

Georg Baselitz
Lucian and Frank en plein air (Lucian und Frank Plein-air), from Mrs Lenin and the Nightingale, 2008 |
Brightening as a white tread, Kiki’s dream of Prague (Hellung als weißer Faden, Kikis Traum von Prag), from Mrs Lenin and the Nightingale, 2008
Oil on canvas
300 x 250 cm each
Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa
© Georg Baselitz, Bilbao, 2021

An Introductory Talk
The Line of Wit
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Opening Tour
The Line of Wit
The Line of Wit

Did you know that...?


As part of the Didaktika project, the Museum designs didactic spaces, online contents, and special activities that complement each exhibition in an effort to provide tools and resources to encourage appreciation of the works displayed.
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Reusing materials: It is common knowledge that art today does not only use paint, brushes, and canvas, tools associated with the artistic tradition; instead, it has incorporated a host of mediums, tools, and technical resources that foster infinite creativity.
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Grouping together unrelated elements to seek new ways of creating. Thanks to their knowledge, experience, and intuition, artists can anticipate or predict what may happen as a result of this union, mix, or combination.
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Some artists choose to take a serial approach to their work, following a process or systematic parameters that take precedence over the realization of the work itself.
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The process of experimentation helps drive divergent thinking. It begins by testing new possibilities, often without knowing what may happen and what the end result may be.
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Questioning the conventions of art is a vast field of study and work for contemporary artists. Through this creative process, critical and analytical thinking are developed to identify the conceptions implicit in the artistic tradition
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