Tonight, the world's richest man, Carlos Slim, inaugurates the new home for his private art collection, the Museo Soumaya.
President Felipe Calderon, author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and just about every art-world figurehead or related hemispheric dignitary should be in attendance for the event at Plaza Carso, in the Polanco-Irrigación region on the westside of Mexico City. The museum is certain to shift the cultural axis in Mexico, a country where state-run institutions have long dominated the art establishment and the art elite's sense of self.
That's changing. As I reported two years ago in The New York Times (link), the new Soumaya belongs to a boom of private art spaces opening in D.F. since the start of the 2000s, including leading contemporary art galleries such as Kurimanzutto, the SOMA school founded by Yoshua Okon, and the upcoming new home of the Jumex Collection, to be located just across from the street from the new Soumaya.
Slim's museum is designed by Mexican "starchitect" Fernando Romero, a Rem Koolhaas protegé. It is a shimmering "sea-sponge"-looking thing where Slim's many Rodins, Riveras, and Cezannes will be available to the general public for free, meaning no admission charges. Romero is also Slim's son-in-law. But don't get it twisted. He's really good.
* Above, the Soumaya in construction, via Arquine.