Mexico City—the new Mecca of the art world, at least for a weekend

Art Privee
Nov 23, 2013 5:05PM

The art world came together, at least for a weekend, to celebrate the opening of a private art museum created by Eugenio López. Museo Jumex is a private art museum designed by star architect David Chipperfield

López's collection boasts over 2,000 works of Latin American artists, as well as artists from Europe, Asia and the United States.  The architect, David Chipperfield, spoke to us at the opening preview about the natural light he utilized when designing the space. Fluorescent lights are used only at night. One star of the opening show has to be minimal artist Fred Sandback

His works divided the large gallery space in the most beautiful way. As one enters the building and experiences Damián Ortega's kinetic sculpture on the plaza, it is immediately clear that something equally special awaits visitors inside the museum.  Speaking with artist Pedro Reyes for an hour was a highlight. Reyes seems to be everywhere.  

His work was represented in the 2013 Carnegie International with his installation of musical instruments made from guns. He is opening the newly renovated Queens Museum with a very large installation in mid-November. Reyes is an architect, as well as a social and environmental activist. He is a man who encouraged us to eat grasshoppers because their carbon footprint compared to cows is so small, and they can be stored months without refrigeration. He is a genius with a wonderful sense of humor and a twinkle in his eye.

What could be more fantastic than chatting with artist Danh Vo all evening at Museo Casa de La Bola? His family came from Vietnam and emigrated to Denmark in the 1970's. His parents wanted him to be an engineer and didn't understand his need to be an artist.  Now they understand—his works are shown and lauded all over the world. He is thinking of moving to Mexico City, buying property and setting up his studio in this newly energized city.  

Lunch at international art star Gabriel Orozco's home was a memorable experience. Everything in his house, which was formerly a monastery, is aesthetic. It is like living in a sculpture. Besides being brilliant, Orozco is a lot of fun. He introduced us to Mezcal, a very potent and delicious drink.  

We visited Damián Ortega's two studios. One is for dusty, dirty work. For example, in this studio, he casts the interior engine of a Volkswagen in cement. The other studio is where he lives and creates some of his kinetic sculptures and installations. He shared with us his newest project, embroidering fabrics and charting the hours it took to do the work. They are very beautiful and meditative. 

The commercial gallery scene in Mexico City is vibrant. Kurimanzutto is a an architecturally stunning gallery representing world class artists. Another noted gallery is Proyectos Monclova. It is one of the new, exciting galleries that should be visited.  

There are two historical museums that are a "must see" when visiting Mexico City. One is The National Museum of Anthropology, which contains one of the largest collections of pre-Colombian artifacts. The other "must see" is the Diego Rivera Anahuacalli Museum, designed by the artist himself and completed after his death, it is devoted to the display of Rivera's own collection of over 52,000 works of pre-Colombian art.  

Another museum displaying a private collection is the Museo Soumaya, owned by Carlos Slim, noted for its many Rodin sculptures. It is situated next to the Museo Jumex

It is almost impossible to see and do everything that is available in Mexico City—it is so vast. One must return again and again to experience the energy and excitement of this vibrant city.

Art Privee
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019