Xabier Sagredo, president of BBK, and Juan Mari Aburto, mayor of Bilbao and president of the Board of Trustees of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum Foundation, today signed a new collaborative agreement, first reached in 2001 when BBK joined the Board of Trustees of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum Foundation. This new agreement falls within the context of the 110th anniversary of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, which first opened to the public on 5 October 1908 in the old School of Arts and Crafts in Atxuri.
The principal project for the anniversary will be the remodelling of the museum's old building: supervised by architect Luis Mª Uriarte, who was responsible for the museum's most recent extension, an oak floor will be laid over the current stone one; and the window frames will be replaced to allow in natural light, as will the skylights which were installed when the building opened in 1945. This work will take place between May and September, during which time the building will be temporarily closed. Part of BBK's sponsorship will contribute to the costs of this project.
Once again to mark the museum's 110th anniversary, the exhibition programme made possible with sponsorship from BBK will primarily focus on drawing attention to the museum's own collection.
With this aim in mind and during the time that the above-mentioned building work takes place, the BBK Gallery and part of Room 32 will house the exhibition 110 Masterpieces. It will include 110 of the museum's most important works with the aim of demonstrating the high quality of the permanent collection and of offering a survey of the museum's history from its origins to the present day. The exhibition's impressive installation and museographic content will allow for an analysis of the museum's long-standing relationship with both the history of art and with its immediate artistic and social context.
Once the remodelling work has finished the old building will reopen with the exhibition ABC Museoaren alfabetoa (ABC The Museum's Alphabet), which is benefitting from the collaboration of the writer Kirmen Uribe. A traditional layout based on chronology and artistic schools will be replaced here by an alphabetical one, and each of the thirty rooms in the old building will display works associated with one particular word. From A to Z, each room will correspond to a word in different languages associated with the museum: Basque, Spanish, French and English.
Another outstanding activity organised in conjunction with this anniversary will be the travelling exhibitionArtearen Ibilbidea / La ruta del arte (Art Route). It will comprise high quality reproductions of masterpieces from the museum which will be shown in different towns and villages in Bizkaia and will benefit from an additional contribution from BBK. This travelling exhibition will have the collaboration of Diputación Foral de Bizkaia (Provincial Council of Bizkaia).
Each exhibition is accompanied by a corresponding catalogue and by different educational activities organised to complement the exhibition programme.
The BBK/Museum Programme
After seventeen years of sponsorship from BBK, the following areas have become the core activities supported within the context of the so-called BBK/Museum Programme: temporary exhibitions; activities of the Department of Education and Cultural Action; research grants; and lecture cycles.
Educational programmes: Once again this year, this programme will allow the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum to continue with the activities devised and implemented by its Department of Education and Cultural Action (DEAC) for this new season. These activities relate to the museum's permanent collection and its temporary exhibitions. Specifically, activities associated with the permanent collection are aimed at school groups and are conceived as a tool to facilitate dialogue and reflection in front of works of art with the aim of developing social skills and generating knowledge on the part of school pupils. In turn, the activities relating to the temporary exhibitions are aimed at an adult public, older people, families and young people. These are activities in which the teacher or head of the group leads the visit with their students following a preparatory session with the museum's DEAC and using material specially designed for this purpose.
Research grants: Among the ways in which BBK has worked with the museum through the BBK/Museum Programme are the research grants directed by the museum's Archive Department. These have established connections between the museum world and academic and university contexts. The award of these grants aims to promote study and research on artists, works and collections represented in the museum. Twenty-three applications have been received for the next round for 2018/2019.
Lecture cycles: Since 2001 the lecture cycles have been offered in collaboration with the Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado. This activity allows those attending the lectures to learn about different subjects relating to the Museo del Prado's history and collections. For this year, 2018, and starting tomorrow, 10 January, the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum will be offering 6 lectures within the cycle The Age of Geniuses. From Michelangelo to Arcimboldo. The first lecture, entitled The Birth of Geniuses. Mannerist art theory, will be given by Francisco Calvo Serraller, senior professor of Art History at the Universidad Complutense, Madrid.