Mexico City has a colorful legacy of art and architecture. Today, museum buildings are often impressive landmarks on their own. Here's a place where art and design align.
Built by business mogul Carlos Slim Helú in memory of his wife, the aluminum-tiled Museo Soumaya is like a modern Taj Mahal. Inside the hourglass-shaped building, Slim Helú’s 66,000-piece collection features paintings by da Vinci, Picasso, and Dalí and sculptures by Rodin.
This appeared in the October 2013 issue.
The Museo Soumaya, financed by Carlos Slim, the richest man in Mexico, has the ambitions of the Guggenheim Bilbao from the outside. It's a stunning building whose sweeping, soaring curves couldn't help but make it an instant landmark near Polanco, one of Mexico City's ritziest neighborhoods. Inside, the museum recalls the Guggenheim New York, with galleries off of a ramp which spirals down (or up) the building. Unfortunately the museum's permanent collection isn't as impressive as those at either Guggenheim. The Soumaya does have some strengths—one of the world's largest collection of Rodins and some especially noteworthy colonial Mexican works—but it can feel hit or miss, with many undistinguished pieces. Slim's museum is free, however, so you won't regret paying admission even if you just pass through quickly to take in the building itself and some highlights.
What kind of art does the richest man in the world collect?
Visit Museo Soumaya to find out; it's where the eclectic artwork collected by Carlos Slim is housed. The museum, which opened in Polanco in 2011, is free and features a diverse range of work from an equally varied span of time, countries, and artists, including the second largest Rodin collection outside France and work by Mexican masters, among them, the muralists Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros.
The building itself, designed by Mexican architect Fernando Romero, is worth the visit; an unusual shape, the exterior of the museum is lined with hexagonal aluminum tiles that look like mirrors. The design has been celebrated and criticized equally, but one thing's for sure: it is eye-catching.
The Soumaya museum in Mexico City holds an impressive collection of over 66,00 works. Some of the most famous artists can be found. During my visit I saw pieces by Diego Rivera, Dali, Rodin, and Van Gogh. The most interesting part of my experience was without a doubt the museum itself, it’s architecture captivated me completely.
The museum’s name is an homage to Carlos Slims late wife whose name was Soumaya. As you may or may not know, Mr. Slim is one of the richest people in the world and this entire project cost about $800 Million to build and organize.
Fernando Romero is the architect and did a great job of evoking a sense of movement. The museum looks like a different shape when you look at it from different angles!
Did I mention that entry into the museum is free? Score!