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Volume 41. No. 1.
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 Watts Towers
 
#39
See the Watts Towers.

The Watts Towers are a complex set of 17 separate sculptural pieces standing 99 feet high at their tallest and built singlehandedly by Italian immigrant Simon Rodia on a small residential lot in the community of Watts.

Using only simple tile-setters’ tools and a window-washer’s belt, Rodia spent more than 30 years—from 1921 to 1955—building his fantastic monument, which he called “Nuestro Pueblo” (Our Town). The colorful sculptures are constructed from steel pipes and rods, wrapped with wire mesh, coated with mortar and embedded with cast-off materials—pieces of ceramic tile, mirrors, pottery shards, sea shells, broken glass and even a bowling ball.

“The work subsequently became a monument to the creative potential of individuals outside of the art world, who may have lacked training or resources but not skills, initiative or imagination,” says Professor of Art History Frances Pohl in her book, Framing America: A Social History of American Art. Now the smallest state park in California, the Watts Towers are a National Historic Landmark.
 
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