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).

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References in periodicals archive ?
AT WORK: Dr Bruno Pernet, Invertebrate Biology professor at Cal State University Long Beach, eyes shells on the Watts Towers to mull about marine life in the area, especially with respect to invasive species at the Watts Towers.
For a La La Land-inspired trip, visit such spots as the Griffith Observatory, Angels Flight, Grand Central Market, the Watts Towers, and the Colorado Street Bridge, all of which made an appearance in the movie.
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.
It is best compared with those other examples of monumental naive architecture, such as the Watts Towers in Los Angeles--made by the Italian immigrant builder, Simon Rodia, out of concrete, wire mesh, porcelain and scrap metal--and Le Palais ideal at Hauterives in France, an exotic fantasy built out of stones and cement by Ferdinand Cheval, a postman.
He settled in Compton, Calif., in the mid-1960s, where he became influenced by artists at the Watts Towers Art Center and the Compton Communicative Arts Academy.
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.com
M2 EQUITYBITES-June 11, 2013-Bank of America provides funding for Watts Towers in LA(C)2013 M2 COMMUNICATIONS http://www.m2.com
"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." A brigade of alliterations conclude the poem with violence: "Humors are fluids inside and out / of bodies that flint friendly fire, denied and beside / their points of entry: swank blamery: bulleted." In this moment, Corey jolts the linguistic machinery of the world iridescent.