Art is essential; it improves your wellbeing and connects you to the meaning of life. Also, it shows you subjects, people, moments, historical contexts and current situations, and ways of doing things that may be similar to or different from yours.
Visiting an art museum can improve your wellbeing, making you feel calm and connected. It reduces stress, helps fight isolation and loneliness, and it can be a rewarding experience, adding meaning and wholeness to your life.
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao offers the perfect setting to become aware of what goes on around and inside you. Take a longer look at our works of art, mindfully and carefully. Explore the Museum’s galleries and architecture, and the feelings and sensations they provoke in you.
Looking at a work of art reveals questions and opens your eyes, encouraging you to be independent, to develop your own thoughts and feelings. Art strengthens your observation and thinking skills, your creativity, your courage, your ties to yourself and to others.
Moreover, art museums are a safe place to delve into your emotions. You can deal with negative feelings better in art than in reality. On the other hand, you can indulge yourself in positive feelings and relationships, feeling more engaged.
Recent studies suggest that visiting art museums has two complementary effects: it increases your wellbeing by boosting positive feelings and making you feel connected to people and life, and it also reduces discomfort and distress by overriding negative moods and problems, making your visit more enjoyable. The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is committed to the social value of art, working with local social and therapeutic organizations to reach out to vulnerable groups to bring them these positive effects and encourage resilience and integration.
Looking at a real work of art can be a unique experience. Facing a unique piece directly, without screens, relating to what an artist is trying to say, connects you to our most genuine self as a human being. Enjoy your visit to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao!
When coming to the Museum, we suggest switching to “slow motion,” turning off the autopilot you use in everyday life.
In our fast-spinning world, your brain gets the gist of everything, often overlooking the nuances in the information we get through our senses. When you take a break to look and listen, paying full attention, you can realize there is far more information and far richer meanings in the world around you—even in the way you think of yourself.
Works of art offer the possibility of finding out about the artists who created them, the mediums they used, and their social and historical backgrounds, and also about the way you look at them and the way you understand yourself, others, and the world. Slow gazing can be an enriching, awareness-raising experience.
In Slow Gazing, we invite you to take a break and look calmly at art, to breathe unhurriedly while letting art touch you, to take the time for your breathing, sensations, and feelings to awake as you enjoy the works in the Museum.
We suggest three different ways of doing this:
1. An audio file to explore the artwork by El Anatsui Rising Sea.
2. A script to follow to indulge in Slow Gazing while you visit the Museum.
3. Regular group tours to share your Slow Gazing experience with other visitors, with the guidance of professionals (check availability in Activities section).
The quiet hour
The Quiet Hour, Wednesday from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. invites you to explore the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao quietly and on your own. Turn your mindful mode on and pay attention to detail, becoming aware of every step, every breath, and every look you take at the Museum’s architecture and exhibitions.
In this link you can download a guided meditation. We suggest listening to it in the Atrium—the building’s central space—as the starting point of your mindful tour of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. It is a 15-minute audio file inviting you to take a break, kindly connect to your breathing, be calm, and pay attention.
In addition, you can resort to Slow Gazing, a section offering resources to calmly observe the Museum’s works of art.
El Anatsui, Rising Sea (2019)
Museum in airplane mode
Have you ever thought of visiting the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in airplane mode? Would you dare?
It is becoming increasingly difficult to find a moment of peace. We are living at a fast pace; even in our leisure time, we want to do a lot of things, enjoying ourselves at full speed. We cannot seem to focus in the midst of so many messages, notifications, alerts.
But less is more sometimes. At the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, you can have the unique experience of a slow-paced, mindful tour.
We invite you to visit the Museum in airplane mode. No distractions. No interruptions. Why not enjoying a few moments in peace, disconnected from technology, to seize what the Museum has to offer? If you are ready to face the challenge, open your mobile device’s settings, find the airplane mode icon, and turn it on. You can still use the audio guide by turning Wi-Fi on. Remember to turn the airplane mode off after your visit, and share your experience! Even if you choose not to turn off your mobile phone, there are special areas in the Museum where you can take a break and enjoy art at a slow pace. Download the map.
Physiological Benefits of Nature and BeautyLooking at nature or at something beautiful activates the prefrontal cortex, which controls our emotional responses to stress, among other functions. The prefrontal cortex is associated with being calm and being connected. When we look at something beautiful, we feel confident, safe, and cheerful, as stress is reduced, oxytocin is released, and the nervous system is calmed. Moreover, being in contact with beauty stimulates the right hemisphere of the brain, which is involved in creative activities, making us more inclined towards serenity and wellbeing.
Disconnecting to ConnectThink Less, Feel More. When you are under stress or when you are analyzing or solving a problem, your brain activates its reward system. In the “conceptual mode,” the brain examines, judges, and plans, ready to go into the “doing” mode to get things done.
Artetik: From the art
Art and emotion have been related since the dawn of time. Artists express their feelings in their work as a response to reality. Artistic creations provoke a myriad of emotions and reactions in their viewers.
Being aware of the fundamental relationship between art and emotion, at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao launched Artetik: From the Art, in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture.
A ground-breaking installation at the global level, Artetik is on the third floor of the Museum. Visitors can look at the works in the Museum Collection, explore the emotions they trigger, and learn about other visitors’ feelings.
Artetik is a living, interactive, and collective map of the emotions triggered by the Museum’s art collection.