Earlier this year the Museo Soumaya opened in the Polanco district of Mexico City. The museum was created to display the 66,000 piece fine art collection of the world's richest man Carlos Slim and his late wife Soumaya (after whom the museum is named).
The museum was designed by Mexican architect Fernando Romero, who is the son-in-law of Carlos Slim Helu. Described by Raymund Ryan, Curator at The Heinz Architectural Center as ‘an extraordinary structure, rising up from the Earth’s crust as a multi-dimensional icon’, Museo Soumaya is an organic volume whose opaque exterior is formed from an immense number of hexagonal aluminium modules that optimise the preservation and durability of the structure. The building reportedly cost more than $70 million to design and construct.
Not everyone is as convinced of the museum's design. Benjamin Genocchio of Art Info writes [the building] "is baldly derivative structure with the young architect taking open inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York for the interior and Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao for the exterior. "
Perhaps Genocchio's dismissal of the buildings design is rooted in the fact that Fernando Romero is a close relative of the Carlos Slim. As more wealthly collectors continue to forge institutions to display their collections they continue to purchase cultural power; it is no wonder that the opening was filled with politicians and global leaders.
The 21st century marks a shifting authority of the museum.