Sunday, November 13, 2011

Carlos Slim and The Museo Soumaya

The Museo Soumaya, the newest art museum in Mexico City, has received varied reviews by art critics, citizens, and humanitarians alike. The institution is the work of Carlos Slim, reportedly the richest man in the world, in tribute to his deceased wife. Public figures like Larry King dub the museum as a tourist attraction and a way to provide accessible art to citizens of Latin American countries. The opposing viewpoint declares that "money can't buy taste" and that Slim should be donating his wealth to charity, rather then financing his lofty ego.
I would like to start out by saying that insulting the art in the museum is fine, but it is a little inconsiderate when one remembers that much of the art in the museum was bought by Slim's deceased wife. He credits what he knows about art to her, and although critics should express their opinion, the many articles about his "second rate collection" are a tad rude. Now that that is off my chest, my thoughts shall be heard. My opinion is floating in between the two viewpoints.
First, to those that declare, "Slim should donate his money to charity rather then spending it on an ego booster": I flat out disagree with these people. The museum that he has erected will educate the public, and attract tourism for the rest of Mexico's existence. Furthermore, Slim has already donated much of his fortune to countless charities. I do believe that he should donate billions more, but he can donate while also making a museum.
The argument against the museum that I agree with: that the museum contains second rate art (or "quantity and not quality") is an argument that I agree with. Although I haven't been to the museum so I do not know the quality of the works there, two facts makes the intentions of the museum suspect. The fact that it has "66,000 works of art" seems absurd. Anyone that truly collected art for the correct purposes, would not collect such a bountiful amount of art. The museum can only display a fraction of this massive collection, which makes me wonder why Slim didn't collect better works, in lesser quantity. Though the quality of a work is opinionated, opinions about the importance and brilliance of a work are usually fairly similar across the board. The other action Slim did wrong, was when he hired his son-in-law to do the architecture for the building. Although most would agree it is stunning, giving a family member such preference for a building of such importance is flat out wrong.
 The last problem I have with the museum is a trivial and petty problem. It is that The Museo Soumaya  holds Slim's massive Rodin collection (the largest outside of France, which is a fact that perplexed me, who thought that Stanford University had the largest collection of his work outside of France). The Rodin's mildly horrifies me because Rodin does nothing for me. This is an obsolete fact when considering the museums collection, because my opinion holds no importance. Slim collected Rodin intensely because Rodin was Slim wife's favorite artist. Good reason for collection work of an artist, I guess...
My overall opinion is that the museum is a wonderful addition to the country, but that it would have been wonderful if someone with better taste (and love of art) had the money to choose the collection. It is wonderful that Slim loves art, and that he can finance this love (even if he loves things that I don't).


Fun Fact: Slim is worth 5 percent of Mexico.

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