Heavy in Bilbao

These days Bilbao’s art fame rests mainly on Frank Gehry’s iconic Guggenheim, finished with 33,000 titanium sheets and containing eight of Richard Serra’s massive works from the series Torqued Ellipses, 1996-98. Gehry and Serra fit with a – rather macho – tradition of working sculpturally in heavy materials consistent with the Basque region’s industrial base. Eduardo Chillida (1924-2002) and Jorge Otieza (1908 –2003)  are the most famous Basque artists of the 20th century, but I found contemporary practitioners, too, on a recent visit.

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Acceptance: Alice Anderson at the Atelier Calder

I visited the current recipient, Alice Anderson, and it was immediately obvious what can be gained. The spacious house is isolated in a classic Loire Valley landscape. The natural world, from which Calder abstracted many of his forms, is right up close through the extensive windows of the thirty-metre long studio. Not surprisingly, Anderson is taking the chance to work on a larger scale..

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