One to Grow On

June 22, 2010

Having a Ball at the Guggenheim

Filed under: children, homeschooling, Spain — midway2go @ 4:27 pm

Okay, I’d read all the stuff about the Guggenheim in Bilbao.  I read about the building’s  being so much better than the collection.  I read about the programs for children at the museum (plenty in Euskara and Castillian, nothing in English the day we went).  I read about the revival of the city.  I even read about how you shouldn’t go to the museum just becasue that’s all foreigners come to Bilbao to see (didn’t quite get the logic there).   What I did not read about is the amazing playground opposite the museum or how great for kids some of the installations are.  A permanent series of works by Richard Serra called The Matter of Time had us talking about memory and about how the past runs into the future and all while sounding for echoes and racing through those enormous steel structures that seem to close in over you then open up and wrap around on themselves.  Very cool.  One of my favorite moments happened in the exhibition of Anish Kapoor’s work.  He is an artist who does all kinds of stuff, like designing the Cloudgate in Chicago and a roomfull of what he calls modern ruins and what Rory and Nora and I thought looked like, well, piles of poop.  Anyway,  before he did Cloudgate he had been working with voids, these half-egg shapes that looked like velvety nothingness inside.  After that he became interested in a medium that reflected everything back out, that sent all the light and energy back, but changed.  Basically, he made really beautiful funhouse mirrors. 

Rory and Nora could have spent all day in there.  It was like the Mirror Maze at Wookie Hole, but so much better.  I watched this guy get in front of one of the mirrors and kind of  bob his head to one side, then the other.  Then a woman stood there doing graceful plies, like ballet class.  All very self-aware.   Well, Nora and Rory got up there and did it all: head-bobbing, bending, the works.  They  danced the robot; they did the Egyptian; they got down on the floor to see how it looked from the bottom.  And every adult in the room looked on, grinning,  probably wishing, like I was, that I could see what they were seeing.   Everyone, that is, but the guard, who stood by, arms crossed, making sure they maintained their distance from the surface.     It was great.  I hope Kapoor knows the pure joy he gave the world with those pieces, and I hope he enjoyed them half as much as we did.



  1. I love Anish Kapoor. One of my favourite artists. Smart and deep yet incredibly accessible and, as you say, great for kids… Loving the pics, too

    Comment by MummyT — June 23, 2010 @ 7:54 am

  2. Glad you had so much fun by the Guggenheim!

    Comment by Barb — June 23, 2010 @ 8:35 am

  3. Can you even imagine how your Uncle Mitchell wants to be there with you? He would jump with you because he loves to jump. Such beautiful photos are only possible through your mother’s (Chrislyn’s) eyes. Hugs, Grandma Barbara

    Comment by Barbara — June 26, 2010 @ 9:51 pm

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