After a visit to Charles Saatchi’s eponymous gallery in London in 1995, Eugenio López—sole heir to the privately owned Mexican juice giant Grupo Jumex—had an epiphany. He, too, would create a public venue to show off his growing collection of contemporary art. Starting in 2001 with an exhibition space located inside the family factory compound, his vision took final shape in late 2013. The result: a $50 million, David Chipperfield–designed architectural gem in Mexico City’s tony Polanco district.
López’s purpose-built home for his collection—one of the largest holdings of contemporary art south of the Rio Grande—has been noted for its distinctive roof pattern that some have likened to shark teeth or, alternately, to Bart Simpson’s serrated hairdo. Inside, the Museo Jumex is more restrained, featuring white concrete, locally sourced travertine and abundant natural light, an elegant modernist home for 2,750 world-class pieces of contemporary art that range from Andy Warhol silk screens to Dan Flavin light sculptures.
López made his grand ambitions for his new institution clear from opening night, with no less than five exhibitions. Among these were a James Lee Byars retrospective, organized jointly with New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and a show of string sculptures by the late American artist Fred Sandback (with pieces from New York powerhouse gallery David Zwirner). Also in the works: a large-scale exhibition of Cy Twombly paintings in mid-June, the first of its kind in the region. A stone’s throw from telecommunications billionaire Carlos Slim’s gaudy Museo Soumaya, the stylish Museo Jumex not only establishes a new local arts district but also declares Mexico’s capital to be among the globe’s premier destinations for contemporary art.
Museo Jumex is at Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra 303; fundacionjumex.org.