‘I believe that we have to find means for all desirable things to be universally accessible,” Carlos Slim Helú told an interviewer for the Telegraph in 2011. “Culture. Entertainment. Sport. Communication. Health. Food. Housing. The fundamental things.” Slim definitely counts art among the “fundamental things,” and he has found a way to make it accessible to everyone (at least everyone who lives in or visits Mexico City)—buy 66,000 works of art, build your own museum, and open it to the public for free. Soumaya Museum, named after Slim’s late wife, is a massive 81,000-square-foot structure with six floors that houses everything from the largest collection of Rodin sculptures in private hands to the largest collection of pre-Hispanic and colonial coins in the world. Cézanne, Renoir, van Gogh, Matisse, da Vinci, Rivera, and countless other masters of European and Mexican art make up Slim’s $700 million collection—a collection which also includes a vast archive of letters and priceless historical documents. There’s a bronze copy of Michelangelo’s Pietà, the writings of Christopher Columbus and Cortés, and a collection of 2,000 spoons. “When you buy a collection you have to exhibit it,” Slim said, also in his 2011 Telegraph interview. “You have to share it.”
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