Art After Dark at Guggenheim Bilbao

With its curvy titanium frame and soaring glass atrium, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is a true architectural masterpiece that has transformed the image of Bilbao from a dirty industrial city to a modern, innovative hotspot. Its exhibitions, however, have been subjected to criticism ever since it opened its doors. Many people, including myself, find the building's exterior much more interesting than the exhibitions on display, which are either too difficult to understand or simply too trite (a stack of white plates? An overturned laundry basket? Hmm, not my cup of tea!).

Although the daytime viewing of antiquities and modern art did not impress me that much, I got to give the Guggenheim Museum some credit for its Art After Dark programme, launched in 2008 and still running successfully on a monthly basis today. 

Art After Dark is the museum's attempt to shake things up and attract a hip new crowd through hosting a dance party and art exhibit rolled into one. In reality, this means that you can walk around a dim-lit museum nodding your head to the beat and sipping your favourite cocktail, whilst the DJ plays his jams. Nothing too fancy or highbrow (you will find tourists in walking shoes clinging to their Lonely Planet, as well as locals sporting high heels and designer handbags) — just some great DJs and bands playing in a beautiful atrium. Even though I found it a bit unsettling to look at art of Holocaust survivors with Swedish House Maffia playing in the background, it certainly gave the concept of art a new dimension.

Art After Dark is perfect for people who do not like the daytime formality of museums and would rather experience art in a more informal setting. Tickets for the event are 15 euros and, although this is a tad more expensive than regular entry, walking around in a dark museum is super exciting. I mean… who doesn't ever secretly hope statues and paintings will come to life at night, in true Harry Potter or Night at the Museum fashion? Chances that this will happen are very, very slim, but the Guggenheim in Bilbao is nonetheless much more appealing in the nocturnal hours. Perhaps the pieces of art adorning the walls will suddenly make a lot of sense when tipsy, too...

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