Openings Museums Mexico

Spectacular opening for new museum in Mexico City

The Museo Jumex opened this weekend and the reactions from a Who’s Who of art world figures have been overwhelmingly positive

“The building is a real tour de force,” said Julia Peyton-Jones, the co-director of London’s Serpentine Gallery, of the new Museo Jumex in Mexico City. “David Chipperfield has created an oasis of calm and stillness which nestles in a challenging environment in the centre.”

The inauguration of Mexico City’s newest museum, Museo Jumex, was celebrated on Saturday, 16 November by thousands of VIP guests that included a veritable Who’s Who of the art world. Reactions from international figures have been overwhelmingly positive.

The museum’s new home, a blocky travertine marble building designed by the British architect David Chipperfield, stands right beside the odd, anvil-shaped Soumaya museum, founded by Carlos Slim Helú, the world’s richest man. Jumex is entirely financed by Fundación Jumex, created by Eugenio López Alonso, the heir to a fruit juice and food canning fortune and a major collector of contemporary art with holdings of some 2,700 works.

The ground floor has soaring glass walls on each side, creating transparency and “windows onto the city”, in the words of Chipperfield; the top floor boasts 12-foot ceilings with a saw-tooth roof allowing the interior to be flooded with natural, shadowless light. “The building is a real tour de force,” said Julia Peyton-Jones, the co-director of London’s Serpentine Gallery. “David has created an oasis of calm and stillness which nestles in a challenging environment in the centre. It is both a very modest and an exceptional structure.”

Among the 700 international guests at the opening was the Los Angeles collector Eli Broad, who told The Art Newspaper: “This is the best Chipperfield building I have seen, through its use of light and space — it’s a triumph.” The collector Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo from Turin was bowled over by the quality of finish. “Everything is so precise and the collections are so well installed,” she said.

The top floor holds an exhibition curated by the museum’s director Patrick Charpenel that features 50 works drawn from the Jumex collection and seven loans of thread sculptures by Fred Sandback. The show examines “structures on the limit of collapsing” in different iterations, from a portrait of Jackie Kennedy by Andy Warhol to a sculpture strapped to a pillar by Tatiana Trouvé. The show also includes a bronze stack by Donald Judd, a double bicycle that, when pedalled, powers a light-bulb by Maurizio Cattelan and a cow’s head vitrine by Damien Hirst.

“This new museum will anchor a lot of exhibitions and give a new forum and voice in Latin America. It is so impressive that a private collector can bring in curatorial talent and make a project that performs like a public institution,” said Silvia Karman Cubiñá, the director of the Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach.

The museum also features a retrospective of James Lee Byars, co-organised by Jumex’s chief curator Magalí Arriola and the MoMA/PS1 curator Peter Eleey, which will travel to the New York museum in June 2014. The artist’s widow Gwendolyn F. Dunaway was at the opening. “I couldn’t ask for a better installation or scholarship,” she said.

Also among the guests was the former Museum of Contemporary Art curator Paul Schimmel, now in partnership with Hauser & Wirth in California; Eric Shiner, the director of the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Lisa Phillips, the director of the New Museum; the super-curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and the collectors Stefan Edlis and Dakis Jouannou; the after-party hosted 2,000 guests, both local and international.


The top floor holds an exhibition curated by the museum’s director Patrick Charpenel that features 50 works drawn from the Jumex collection and seven loans of thread sculptures by Fred Sandback
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