Watts Towers

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Watts Towers,

group of folk-art towers in the Watts section of Los Angeles. The complex was built (1921–54) single-handedly by the self-taught Italian immigrant Simon Rodia (also spelled Rodilla, 1879–1965). Of varying heights (the tallest is nearly 100 ft/30 m high) and shapes, they are enigmatic and extraordinarily fanciful structures, sculptural in appearance and reminiscent of Antonio GaudíGaudí i Cornet, Antonio
, 1852–1926, Spanish architect. Working mainly in Barcelona, he created startling new architectural forms that paralleled the stylistic development of art nouveau or modernismo.
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's imaginative architecture. Elegant monuments to Rodia's inventiveness and industry, they are constructed of steel, stone, and cement, often in a kind of filigree, and inlaid with found objects such as china shards, bits of glass, seashells, and bottle caps in a multitude of patterns. Once considered an eyesore and threatened with demolition, the complex was eventually recognized as a significant work of art and designated a national landmark. Damaged by the 1994 earthquake, the towers underwent extensive renovations from 1995 to 2001.


See documentary film by E. Landler (2001).

References in periodicals archive ?
Saar has noted the formative experiences of watching Simon Rodia at work on the steel-and-mosaic structures of his monumental (and now landmarked) Watts Towers when she was visiting her grandmother, who lived in this Los Angeles neighborhood in the 1950s, and of viewing a 1967 survey of Joseph Cornell's work at the Pasadena Art Museum.
This traveler found great similarities between Sulilat's park and the Watts Towers in Los Angeles California, the creation of an Italian immigrant named Simon Rodia.
An anthology of essays, this book looks at the Watts Towers, an unusual Los Angeles architectural and artistic landmark created by the self-taught maker Sabato/Simon/Sam Rodia.
The Watts Towers were created by a single artist who worked for over three decades to 'do something big'.
BANKING AND CREDIT NEWS-June 11, 2013-Bank of America provides funding for Watts Towers in LA(C)2013 M2 COMMUNICATIONS http://www.
M2 EQUITYBITES-June 11, 2013-Bank of America provides funding for Watts Towers in LA(C)2013 M2 COMMUNICATIONS http://www.
Soon I am confronted by a powerful youth" places the speaker in sweltering, confrontational South Central, where, "upside-down in each iris the Watts Towers rise.
DREAM SOMETHING BIG: The Story of the Watts Towers (2011; $17.
Bradley's administration, which governed the city for the twenty years between 1973 and 1993, included African Americans in the municipal arts program by funding the Watts Towers Art Center, but funding for the community arts organizations that had nurtured the Black Arts Movement dried up.
Meanwhile, Sabato Rodia, an unassimilated Italian immigrant drawn to Los Angeles in the 1910s because of its offerings of plentiful wage work and cheap land, worked anonymously on the fringes of the city, building the region's most famous public artwork, the Watts Towers.
He combines humor with pith in post-post-postmodern tales that re-create his experience into one that's as recognizable as an abandoned drive-in theater, Kindle's giant donut, or the Watts towers at sunset.
Finally, chapter five portrays the complicated relationship amongst preservationists, Latino and African community members and city officials over Sabato (Sam) Rodia's Watts Towers, an impressive example of creative, indigenous folk art.