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The opening of the new, David Chipperfield-designed Jumex museum in the heart of Mexico City last week brought together hordes of dealers, curators, collectors, art advisers and artists in a weekend-long jamboree that ended with a beyond-extravagant after-party for more than 2,000 guests in a sports stadium.
The museum is funded by the Jumex foundation, created by the sole heir to the privately owned juice giant Grupo Jumex, Eugenio López Alonso. He is the trailblazer for Mexican collectors, and has amassed one of the most important contemporary art collections in Latin America, with 2,700 works said to be worth some $80m, and which range from 1960s minimalism such as Dan Flavin and Robert Ryman to California artists Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley; he is also a strong supporter of Latin American artists such as Gabriel Orozco and Damián Ortega.
Reportedly costing $50m, the museum was inaugurated with three shows. One devoted to James Lee Byars is co-curated by Peter Eleey of New York’s MoMA PS1 – where it will travel next year – and is a sign of López’s ambitions to bring genuine curatorial heft to the museum. The other curtainraiser is a selection from the foundation’s collection curated by director Patrick Charpenel. Works include Robert Gober’s “Flying Sink” (1985), López’s first purchase at auction, for which he paid more than $500,000 in 1998, and Jeff Koons’s “Three Ball Total Equilibrium Tank” (1986), which he bought for about $350,000 three years later. Also on show is a Hirst flayed cow’s head vitrine, a copper-rose Judd stack and a Warhol silkscreen of Jackie Kennedy. They are shown with a group of seven works from the “string king” Fred Sandback estate and organised through dealer David Zwirner. In the basement garage, López’s art adviser Patricia Marshall has her own show, also drawn from the collection and including a Richard Jackson cage titled “Confusion in the Vault Room” (2005), which gave its name to the display.
According to Jumex curator Magali Arriola, acquisitions will resume next year, after slowing during building works. And the accent on exhibitions will change, she says: “In the Ecatepec space [at the group’s factory in the suburbs of Mexico City] we invited outside curators and held group shows; now we will reverse this and hold solo shows of artists represented in the collection, and we will make acquisitions towards these.” The next artist to be featured will be Cy Twombly, in June next year.