Emiliano López Atxurra, president of Petronor, and Bingen Zupiria, regional minister for Culture and Linguistic Policy of the Basque Government and President of the Board of Trustees of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, today signed an addendum to the collaborative agreement reached last May through which Petronor joined the Board of Trustees of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum Foundation. This new agreement will increase Petronor's financial support to enable the organisation of a special exhibition project to mark the 50th anniversary of the company's founding in Muskiz in 1968.
Entitled After 68. Art and artistic practices in the Basque Country, 1968-2018, this exhibition will be shown in the museum's modern building between November 2018 and April 2019. It will present a wide-ranging and unprecedented survey of art in the Basque Country which runs parallel to the region's economic and industrial history and provides the context for Petronor's founding and subsequent activities.
The exhibition opens in the emblematic year of 1968, two years after the founding of Grupo Gaur and at a time when the new generation of Basque artists born in the 1940s made its first appearance on the art scene alongside the veteran members of the various Basque School groups. The exhibition continues to the present day with the inclusion of recent work by artists working now.
This comprehensive selection of more than 200 exhibits (paintings, sculptures, photographs, video art, works on paper) by various generations of artists will allow visitors to discover the different ways in which art was renewed and modernised in that particular context during the late 20th and early 21st centuries and to appreciate the importance that individual artist's careers and collective activities have had on Spanish and international art.
The exhibition's starting point is the collection of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum and those of other public institutions which have placed particular emphasis on acquiring Basque contemporary art. Using a chronological structure in which the artists and their works coincide with archive and documentary material (print media, books, texts and audiovisual material) After 68. Art and artistic practices in the Basque Country, 1968-2018 will occupy all the temporary exhibition space in the museum's modern building which, since it was first opened in 1970, has been a key element in the institutional account of art in the region during the period in question.
The exhibition, curated by the museum's Miriam Alzuri, Begoña González and Miguel Zugaza, will be accompanied by a catalogue with texts by specialists in this field that will make an innovative contribution to the study of the artistic manifestations that have arisen in the Basque Country between 1968 and the present.
During the five months that it will be on display the exhibition will be complemented with film cycles, music and lectures and an extensive educational programme that will allow visitors the opportunity to reassess the political, social, economic and cultural changes that have taken place during this period through the medium of art.
Today's event also saw the presentation of the results for the exhibition The Alicia Koplowitz-Grupo Omega Capital Collection, the first joint project between Petronor and the museum. The exhibition closed yesterday, Sunday 12 November, having been extended three weeks longer than was initially scheduled.
In total, 139,615 visitors saw the exhibition since it opened on 28 July, making it one of the most popular in the museum's history. Of that total, 58% were visitors from the Basque Country, 20.1% from the rest of Spain and 21.9% from outside Spain. With regard to non-Spanish visitors, 17.6% were Europeans, 3% from America, 0.6% from Asia, 0.5% from Oceania and 0.2% from Africa.
Otro dato importante ha sido la buena respuesta que ha tenido la apertura especial de la exposición los martes (día habitual de cierre del museo) de la que se han beneficiado 13.893 visitantes.
El museo ha agradecido a la presidenta del Grupo Omega-Capital, Alica Koplowitz la extraordinaria generosidad demostrada al permitir mostrar al público por primera vez una de las más excelentes colecciones de arte creadas en Europa en las últimas decadas.