- BBK and the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum renew their alliance through the signing of a new collaboration agreement that establishes the strategic lines of action for the next fifteen years under the BBK Museoa identity.
- The joint action between BBK and the museum will take place in the new BBK Museoa space designed by Norman Foster and Luis María Uriarte within the “Agravitas” project for the renovation and extension of the museum, which will begin this year.
- The agreement lays the foundations to guarantee the financial self-sufficiency of the BBK Museoa programme, which will include the organisation of two major annual exhibitions.
The signing of this agreement renews the cultural positioning and establishes a new milestone in the five decades of collaboration between BBK and the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum.
An alliance that began at the end of the seventies of the last century and was extended in 1994 with the creation of the BBK Room. It received its decisive backing in 2001 when BBK joined the museum as Patron of Honor and member of its Executive Committee together with the three founding institutions (Bilbao City Council, Bizkaia Provincial Council and the Basque Government). It was in that year—in which, in addition, the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum Foundation was incorporated—when the BBK Museum Programme was established, which over the course of this time has provided cover for the joint action framework.
Throughout these years the development of general interest activities has materialised in the museum’s largest artistic programme supported by a private entity and which backs three main projects—temporary exhibitions, educational activities and outreach—which have played a major role in cultural actions in the territory and their staging in a broader artistic context.
The main goal of the majority of the museum’s exhibition programme, which is run precisely thanks to the collaboration with BBK, is to acquaint the public with important artists, periods or episodes in the history of art. The archive includes catalogues as memorable as El bodegón español. De Zurbarán a Picasso [Spanish still life. From Zurbarán to Picasso] (1999) and Antonio López (2011). It also aims to contribute to research, as in the case of Obras maestras de la Colección Valdés [Masterpieces of the Valdés Collection] (2020), and to showcase the museum’s own collection, as in the exhibitions 110 Years 110 Works (2018) and ABC. The alphabet of the Bilbao Museum. In this respect, BBK has also contributed to the enrichment of the collection through various formulas, one of the most recent examples of which has been the sponsorship of the purchase, in 2017 by the Friends of the Museum, of the splendid View of Bermeo (1783) by the painter Luis Paret.
Attention to Basque cultural identity and its creative community is one of the core areas of interest in the synergies between BBK and the museum, and ranges from classical artists—from Zamacois to Zuloaga—to the twentieth century, with Basterretxea, Mendiburu and Ameztoy, to mention just three prominent names. The same purpose has guided, since 1982, the BBK-Museum Research Grants.
Educational and mediation work accompanies the temporary exhibitions, offering a wide range of audiences, with diverse interests and needs, workshops, visits, meetings, audio guides, talks and conferences both on site and online. BBK’s exhibitions also generate catalogues and other art publications that occupy most of the museum’s editorial work.
But, moreover, this on-site activity at the museum extends beyond its rooms in performances across the city and the region. Noteworthy examples are the travelling exhibition BBK Artearen Ibilbidea / La Ruta del Arte [Art Route] which, since 2018, has toured different towns in Bizkaia, and the current exhibition Paret in Bilbao.
BBK’s contribution to the museum’s prestige and its ongoing mentoring in different stages of its history have been essential to be able to face future challenges with confidence.
A strategic future: BBK Museoa
BBK Museoa is the new collaboration project between BBK and the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum Foundation that is a follow-up, after 25 years of joint action, to the activity carried out mainly in the museum’s BBK Room.
In 2019, BBK sponsored an international architectural tender for the extension and renovation of the museum. The winning bid was the ‘Agravitas’ project, designed by Norman Foster and Luis María Uriarte and which is scheduled to begin this autumn. One of the most important actions in the project proposes a new space that will bring together in a single museum area, identified with the new BBK Museoa brand, all the exhibition events and educational and outreach activities associated with the joint programme.
Boasting an exhibition area of more than 2,000 square meters, which doubles the current BBK Room, BBK Museoa occupies the main ensemble of the public space of the extension, which is planned on the existing architecture to offer the museum new prominence in the city.
In addition to being a new space, BBK Museoa will be an ambitious art programme targeted at the community closest to the museum and, at the same time, open to an international audience.
It aims to stage two major annual exhibitions that foster, through artistic creation and together with an ambitious programme of educational and outreach activities, reflection on the great challenges facing our society today