Green Tour

Welcome to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao!

With this tour you can take a look at some of the works in the Museum Collection on your own as you think about them not only in aesthetic terms but also in terms of environmental sustainability.


A “Living” Work of Art
Puppy 1

A “Living” Work of Art

Museum Square

Did you know that Puppy is a “living” work of art? It is covered with 35,000 flowering plants: begonias, impatiens, petunias, lobelias, Indian and Chinese carnations in red, orange, pink, and white in spring; pansies in the fall.

This sculpture has its own sustainable irrigation system for easier care and maintenance.

In Puppy, Koons brings past and present together, evoking 18th-century European gardens and their theatrical effects while using sophisticated computer models for the large-scale structure.

Jeff Koons, Puppy, 1992
Stainless steel, soil, and flowering plants
1240 x 1240 x 820 cm
Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa

Messages of Light
Holzer J Instalación para Bilbao Installation for Bilbao 1997 scaled

Messages of Light


Jenny Holzer has resorted to language as a means of artistic expression since 1977. Her Truisms–a series of aphorisms and slogans that utilize modern clichés and commonly held truth about war, politics, death, and violence, among other topics–are some of her best-known works.

To convey her messages, Holzer uses a variety of mediums, which she installs in public spaces: billboards, neon signs, electronic signaling devices, etc.

Installation for Bilbao was made in 1997 for the Museum gallery where it can be seen today, using light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to emit light while saving energy.

Jenny Holzer, Installation for Bilbao, 1997/2017
Electronic LED signs
Site-specific dimensions
Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa

A sculpture made of fog?
Nakaya F Escultura de niebla 08025 G Fog Sculpture 08025 FOG 1998 scaled

A sculpture made of fog?

Terrace by the river

Fujiko Nakaya was the first artist to work with fog a sculpting medium. Her approach is a subtle way of using water, atmosphere, air currents, and time. The fog is made with a pump system hidden beneath the edge of the pond.

Nakaya’s sculptures need to be experienced. Fog Sculpture #08025 becomes active every hour on the hour for eight minutes. Make sure not to miss out on it!

Fujiko Nakaya, Fog Sculpture #08025 (F.O.G.), 1998
Water fog generated by 1000 fog nozzles and high-pressure pump/motor system
Site-specific dimensions
Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa

The nature of life
Bourgeois L  Mamá Maman 1999 scaled

The nature of life

Terrace by the river

From here you can also see this artwork!

Almost 9 meters in height, Maman is one of Louise Bourgeois’s most ambitious works. It is part of a series of sculptures that take the spider as their subject.

In the figure of the spider, Bourgeois pays tribute to her mother, who wove tapestries just like spiders weave their webs. Spiders are an apt metaphor for the dual nature of motherhood: they protect their offspring but feast viciously on their pray; they spin their silk to make both cocoons for their larvae and cobwebs for their prey. Bourgeois’s giant spider is an awe-inspiring creature, but standing high and balancing on its slender legs, it also looks fragile and vulnerable. Moreover, the way it protects its precious eggs adds a dose of tenderness to the sculpture. Have you found them already?

Louise Bourgeois, Maman, 1999
Bronze, marble, and stainless steel
927 x 891 x 1023 cm
Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa

Wish Tree for Bilbao
Arbol deseos Yoko Ono

Wish Tree for Bilbao

Terrace, 2nd floor

This participatory work of art belongs to a series begun by Yoko Ono in 1996. It draws inspiration from the Japanese tradition of hanging prayers in shrubs or trees.
In Wish Tree for Bilbao, Yoko Ono invites visitors to make a wish for peace and hang it in her tree. The wishes are then collected and sent to Ono, to be included in her Imagine Peace Tower, an project that symbolizes John Lennon’s advocacy and Ono’s continuing campaign for world peace. The tree is not always available for written prayers. When it is not, you can whisper your wish to the tree.
Come on! Make your wish!

In the course of history, olive trees have been put to multiple uses. A familiar feature of the Mediterranean landscape, they have contributed, in practical and symbolic terms, to the economy, health, and haute cuisine of the people of the Mediterranean region. The olive tree has also become synonymous with life, victory, and peace. It grows wherever there is a temperate climate, sunny and free from frosts. Olives and olive oil are staples of the Mediterranean diet and a strong sector in the food industry.

Yoko Ono, Wish Tree for Bilbao, 1996/2014
Handwritten framed text, olive tree, soil, wooden pot, lectern, labels, and pens
Dimensions variable
Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa

The immensity of climate change

The immensity of climate change

Gallery 304, 3rd floor

El Anatsui makes peculiar metal sculptures, rooted in the traditional forms of African art and revealing a personal approach to art in their global contemporary aesthetics.

The technical aspects of his creative process are amazing. How does El Anatsui make his works?

With the help of his assistants in his studio, he collects recycled aluminum pieces, flattens and twists them, and then stitches them together using copper wire.

What can we see in Rising Sea? The shiny, silver strip at the top is the sky; the massive, monochrome grey zone in the middle resembles the waves in a rising sea, engulfing the urban landscape that can be seen in the vibrantly colored strip that runs along the bottom. Seen from a distance, the work tells the story of the sudden changes that may transform civilizations.
The piece’s dimensions are indicative of the pressing issue of global warming and the disasters it might bring about.

El Anatsui, Rising Sea, 2019
Aluminum and copper wire
800 x 1400 cm
Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa


Now, before leaving, think of contemporary art as a way of addressing and representing issues and realities we all feel identified with. You can share your thoughts with your friends and relatives! We hope this tour has been a nurturing experience. Also, we hope to see you again soon!