Richest man in the world opens art museum in Mexico City

Carlos Slim is the richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of over fifty billion U.S. dollars. He recently unveiled his new Soumaya Art Museum in Mexico City. The anchor shaped structure houses Slim’s personal art collection and includes works by Diego Rivera, Auguste Rodin, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Salvador Dali.

According to the AP, the Soumaya is named after Slim’s late wife and designed by his son-in-law, architect Fernando Romero. The curvy structure’s exterior is covered with over 16,000 hexagon shaped aluminum panels that glimmer radically in the Mexican sun. The massive interior is 183,000 square feet, providing plenty of space to peruse Slim’s collection. The art housed within the Soumaya will be a rotation of the billionaire’s personal art collection, which includes over 66,000 (!) pieces. The Soumaya opens to the public on March 29.Carlos Slim is the son of a Lebanese merchant and accumulated his wealth in the telecom industry. He owns the leading Internet service and cell phone providers in Mexico as well as over 80% of Mexican land lines. His wealth is about 4% of Mexico’s gross domestic product. The opening of the Soumaya to the Mexican public underlies his philosophy that culture and art should be accessible to all:

“I believe that we have to find means for all desirable things to be universally accessible. Culture. Entertainment. Sport. Communication. Health. Food. Housing. The fundamental things.”

The avant-garde Soumaya is located in the Polanco neighborhood of Mexico City. Tuesday night was a soft opening media event and included guests such as Larry King, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, and Nobel Laureate Garcia Marquez.

flickr image via vladimix