Press Release

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is cheering on Athletic Club with an artistic installation on its facade by Darío Urzay

The architecture of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao will be transformed in the forthcoming days by a stunning installation by artist Darío Urzay created to cheer on the Athletic Club, all its fans, and the city of Bilbao itself.

On the occasion of the Copa del Rey final match, which the Athletic Club will vie for in Seville on April 6, an event that the club’s tens of thousands of fans are excitedly awaiting, the Museum challenged Bilbao-based artist Darío Urzay to create an artwork that would convey the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao’s support and celebration of this exciting time for the team. Urzay accepted the challenge and the result is Shoot Strokes, a set of works that will be displayed on the Museum’s facade in the forthcoming days, after the installation period is over.

Created to harmonize with the scale of Frank Gehry’s architecture, Shoot Strokes consists of a set of blown-up photographs in which Darío Urzay uses the “brushstrokes” of his camera to capture the lights of Bilbao, the river at the root of its history, and the colors of the Athletic Club. These images echo the elongated shape of a soccer goal, where Urzay is aiming his shoot, a camera shot in the purest Action-Painting style.

The works will be installed along the entire facade to give the Museum an unusual look that will enable it to first cheer on and later fully participate in the celebration that will occur if the Athletic Club wins and the barge with all the players onboard travels along with river on April 11.

Darío Urzay in the Museum’s Collection

Shoot Strokes joins the Camerastrokes series that Darío Urzay began in 1991. He defines it as photographs that “… have been made using the camera to imitate the movement of a gestural brushstroke from Abstract Expressionism, with light being the ‘material’ used.”[1]

The choice of Urzay to respond to this challenge is coherent given the artist’s relationship with both the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the Athletic Club. More than two decades ago, Urzay designed the Athletic Club jersey for the 2004 UEFA Cup using an enlarged fragment of his work In a (Microverse I) Fraction, which has been part of the Museum’s Collection since 1997.

In 2013, another Urzay work made at the same time as the first one, In a (Microverse II) Fraction, joined the Museum Collection thanks to a gift by the artist.

La campa de los ingleses: Where the love of soccer took root, today the Museum’s home

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is located in an area known as La campa de los ingleses (roughly The Englishmen’s Field). Back in the late 19th century, British workers at the shipbuilding company MacAndrews would spend their free time playing ball. The locals soon joined this new game called “foot ball” on this field and others in Biscay, becoming the seed of the Athletic Club.

The Athletic Club was founded in 1898, has tens of thousands of fans all over the world, and is a factor in Biscay’s identity and social cohesion.


[1] Urzay, Darío, Camerastrokes. Zarautz: Photomuseum, 1994.



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