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