Noguchi / Abelardo Rodriguez Market, Mexico City

Abelardo Rodriguez Market (1934), Mexico City

The market in 1934. It was a post-revolutionary progressive model which included social areas, day care and had a goal to bring art to the people.
Source:  Portal Academico

Diego Rivera curated the art program. Murals were painted by his students and visiting artists.

A wood sculpture in the lobby. Unfortunately, I have no idea who the artist is.

Fresco murals by American artist, Marion Greenwood, 1935

Marion working on the mural
Source: Archives of American Art

Her mural leads upstairs.
At this time Isamu Noguchi came to Mexico City, apparently in a car (a Hudson) lent to him by his friend, Buckminster Fuller. Marion and her sister helped Noguchi get a wall commission in the market by convincing Diego Rivera to let him join the project. More information on this is included in Marion's interview at the Archives of American Art

Noguchi and Marion went way back. In 1929, Isamu made a bust of Marion out of cast iron. The only one he did in iron.

Source: Isamu Noguchi: Portrait Sculpture, via Flickr

Noguchi: "I made a little drawing, a painting, which I submitted to Diego Rivera who was in charge. He approved it. I agreed to do it for the same price that the muralists were getting, so much a square meter. Which wasn’t very much, I forget what it was."
In his autobiography, Noguchi described the mural this way: "At one end was a fat ‘capitalist’ being murdered by a skeleton… There was war, crimes of the church, and ‘labor’ triumphant. Yet the future looked out brightly in the figure of an Indian boy, observing Einstein’s equation for energy… it took eight months to complete."
Source: Isa­mu No­gu­chi en el Mer­ca­do Abe­lar­do Ro­drÍ­guez, by Ma­ri­ce­la Gon­zá­lez Cruz Man­ja­rrez 

His­to­ria de Mé­xi­co by Isamu Noguchi
Noguchi: “How different Mexico was! Here all of a sudden I didn't feel strange for being an artist. All artist were useful people, a part of the community. A group of artists that worked at the Abelardo Rodríguez Market offered me a wall to sculpt if I accepted the same kind of salary that those who painted the fresco received, per square meter. I happily accepted. This was how I created my first large work, in colored cement and sculpted brick, two meters high and twenty-two long, which I called “The History of Mexico”
Marion Greenwood: He hacked out with an ax on built up brick a big relief, half sculpture, half painting, and then covered that with fresco paint. It was a very interesting technique.
The evils of fascism.

Labor wins.

Technology will save the day. 

Well, this was pre-WWII

Frida Kahlo next to Noguchi's mural.
Noguchi wasn't only making sculpture when he was in Mexico. In Hayden Herrera's biography of Frida Kahlo, Noguchi described a love affair he had with Kahlo. The two met at a Guggenheim function for artists. Noguchi explained an incident where he "had been in bed with Kahlo when her houseboy notified them that her husband, Diego Rivera, was on his way. Noguchi junmped out of bed, threw on his clothes, climbed a tree growing from the patio, and escaped over the roof. But one of Kahlo’s hairless Mexican dogs had made off with one of his socks, and Rivera discovered the evidence." Noguchi said Diego came by with a gun. He always carried a gun. The next time he saw Noguchi, he threatened to shoot him.

Still hanging above Frida's bed is a framed collection of butterflies that were given to her by Isamu.
In 2012 Patti Smith wrote a song called Noguchi's Butterflies and performed it live at La Casa Azul. More about that at, Lust Love Leitmotif

Weekend / Stuff

Tapio Wirkkala, Fornasetti, and fiber

Pipsan Saarinen Swanson


UNAM / Mexico City

The Central Library (1952) at UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) by Juan O’ Gorman, with Gustavo Saavedra amd Juan Martínez de Velasco. Mario Pani and Enrique del Moral created the UNAM campus master plan. Over 60 architects were involved in designing the campus.   

UNAM was built on the site of the Xitle volcano, which erupted around 100 AD. Lava rocks from the volcano were used in in the construction.
The sprawling campus is monumental in scale--in that cold modernist sort of way.

The Rectorate Tower (1952) by Mario Pani, with Enrique del Moral and Salvador Ortega

Mural by David Alfaro Siqueiros

El Pabellón de Rayos Cósmicos (1951) by Félix Candela, with Jorge González Reyna

It was built as a Neutron measurement laboratory. Now it seems more like a hangout.

Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) (2008) by Teodoro González de León

The Sculpture Space is an incredible collection of large-scale works from the 1970s and 80s. 
It's a bit of a hike.


Helen Escobedo

Manuel Felguérez

Mathias Goeritz

Weekend / Stuff

Tackett / Thursday

From a 2011 LAMA sale

Luis Barragán / La Casa

Casa Luis Barragán is the former house and studio of architect Luis Barragán in Mexico City. It was completed in 1948 and Barragán lived there until he died in 1988. This is the front hall to the house. A Mathias Goeritz painting hangs at the top of the stairs.

Barragán lived alone

The garden

The stairs lead to a private office. That's another Mathias Goeritz painting.

Vision In Motion by  László Moholy-Nagy

One of two reproduction Josef Albers paintings owned by Barragán. Albers and Barragán met on a number occasions and had mutal admiration for each other's work. Apparently, Albers even knew of the reproductions. The Henry Moore sculpture (limited edition) is a Pritzker Prize, which was awarded to Barragán in 1980.
There's the other one.

Barragán designed most of the furnishings, including this Butaque chair, which was a collaboration with Clara Porset.


Another Goeritz in Barragán's bedroom.

A number of these Barragán-designed lighting fixtures were used throughout the house. 

The docent

Up to the roof

Back downstairs, the Patio de los Ollas leads to the studio. The clay pots were used for making mezcal.

Barragán at work in the studio
Photo: Rene Burri, 1969

The street view. 

If you go to Mexico City and don't go here, you blew it.