Exploding interest in contemporary art has fueled not only record prices for emerging and established artists alike but also a proliferation of private museums around the world. A select few of these private institutions play an important role in furthering critical dialogue, broadening public access to art, and taking risks that many of their public counterparts have proved unwilling to take. Last Saturday, the art world descended upon Mexico City to celebrate one of the most significant entrants of its type on the world stage: Eugenio Lopez’s Museo Jumex.
Designed by London-based architect, David Chipperfield, the elegant, beige travertine-clad structure exudes understated sophistication, in stark contrast to Carlos Slim's Museo Soumaya nearby. Built to showcase what is reputed to be the largest collection of contemporary art in Latin America, the Museo Jumex features an expansive, light-filled top floor, an open-air balcony overlooking a landscaped square, a research department and publishing wing.
The Coleccion Jumex itself features an impressive range of works by many of the world’s most sought-after artists—the smart inaugural group show presented important pieces by Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol, Richard Prince, Donald Judd, and Carol Bove, among others, in an exhibition space delineated by strong group of Fred Sandback’s minimalist yarn sculptures. On the third floor, a scholarly exhibition of the under-recognized installation and performance artist, James Lee Byars, hinted at the curatorial rigor by which the museum will be guided.
Conceived over a period of eight years, the museum is the inspiration of Eugenio Lopez, a major Mexico City and Los Angeles-based collector whose fortune comes from his family's Jumex juice company. An early champion of Latin American artists—notably, Gabriel Orozco, Abraham Cruzvillegas, and Gabriel Kuri—Lopez has assembled a nearly 3,000-work collection of international stature. At a recent dinner, Lopez exuded an enthusiasm for artists and contemporary art that reflects the zeal of an acquired passion. A trustee of both MOCA in Los Angeles and the New Museum in New York, Lopez also promotes exhibitions and cutting-edge artist projects around the world.
Unsurprisingly, nearly 1,000 international guests from all corners of the art world descended on Mexico City for the opening. Museum directors in attendance included Julia Peyton-Jones from the Serpentine, Lisa Phillips of the New Museum, the Nasher’s Jeremy Strick, Dan Cameron from the Orange County Museum of Art, and Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson of the Aspen Art Museum, among others. The auction specialists Simone and Michaela de Pury and the prominent collectors Patrizia Sandretto, Stefan Edlis, Phil and Shelly Aarons, and Maria Baibakova were among the many world-class collectors in attendance complemented by curators, artists, advisors and dealers.
Already possessing of world-class galleries in kurimanzutto, OMR, Proyectos Monclova, and LABOR, an international art fair that grows in importance each year (Zona Maco), and such cultural institutions showcasing the city’s rich heritage as the National Museum of Anthropology and Casa Barragon, the opening of the Museo Jumex further vaults the city into position as a relevant contemporary-art center.
Explore the slide show above to see photos from the museum's opening.