Sabato Rodia's Towers in Watts: Art, Migrations, Development (Critical Studies in Italian America)

Sabato Rodia's Towers in Watts: Art, Migrations, Development (Critical Studies in Italian America)

By: Luisa Del Giudice (editor)Paperback

Up to 2 WeeksUsually despatched within 2 weeks

£34.78 RRP £37.00  You save £2.22 (6%) With FREE Saver Delivery


The extraordinary Watts Towers were created over the course of three decades by a determined, single-minded artist, Sabato Rodia, a highly remarkable Italian immigrant laborer who wanted to do "something big." Now a National Historic Landmark and internationally renowned destination, the Watts Towers in Los Angeles are both a personal artistic expression and a collective symbol of Nuestro Pueblo-Our Town/Our People. Featuring fresh and innovative examinations that mine deeper and broader than ever before, Sabato Rodia's Towers in Watts is a much anticipated revisitation of the man and his towers. In 1919, Sabato Rodia purchased a triangular plot of land in a multiethnic, working-class, semi-rural district. He set to work on an unusual building project in his own yard. By night, Rodia dreamed and excogitated, and by day he built. He experimented with form, color, texture, cement mixtures, and construction techniques. He built, tore down, and re-built. As an artist completely possessed by his work, he was often derided as an incomprehensible crazy man. Providing a multifaceted, holistic understanding of Rodia, the towers, and the cultural/social/physical environment within which the towers and their maker can be understood, Sabato Rodia's Towers in Watts compiles essays from twenty authors, offering perspectives from the arts, the communities involved in the preservation and interpretation of the towers, and the academy. Most of the contributions originated at two interdisciplinary conferences held in Los Angeles and in Italy: "Art & Migration: Sabato Rodia's Towers in Watts, Los Angeles" and "The Watts Towers Common Ground Initiative: Art, Migrations, Development." The Watts Towers are wondrous objects of art and architecture as well as the expression and embodiment of the resolve of a singular artistic genius to do something great. But they also recount the heroic civic efforts (art and social action) to save them, both of which continue to this day to evoke awe and inspiration. Sabato Rodia's Towers in Watts presents a well-rounded tribute to one man's tenacious labor of love. A portion of royalties from this book will go to support the work of the Watts Towers Arts Center.

About Author

Luisa Del Giudice is an independent scholar, former university academic (University of California Los Angeles, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia), public sector educator (Founder- Director of the Italian Oral History Institute), and community activist. She has published and lectured widely on Italian and Italian American and Canadian folklife, ethnology, and oral history, and has produced many innovative public programs on Italian, Mediterranean, regional, and folk culture, and local history in Los Angeles. In 2008 she was amed an honorary fellow of the American Folklore Society and knighted by the Italian Republic. She is the coordinator of the Watts Towers Common Ground Initiative.


i. Table of Contents ii. Acknowledgements iii. Contributors Introduction Luisa Del Giudice, Sabato Rodia's Towers in Watts and the Search for Common Ground 1. Situating Sabato Rodia and The Watts Towers: Art Movements, Cultural Contexts, and Migrations 1.1 Jo Farb Hernandez, Local Art, Global Issues: Tales of Survival and Demise Among Contemporary Art Environments 1.2 Guglielmo Bilancioni, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere: Simon Rodia and Fantastic Architecture 1.3 Paul A. Harris, The Poetic Concrete of Sam Rodia's Watts Towers and the Concrete Poetry of Ronald Johnson 1.4 Thomas Harrison, Without Precedent: The Watts Towers 1.5 Richard Candida Smith, An Era of Grand Ambitions: Sam Rodia and California Modernism 1.6 Laura E. Ruberto, A California Detour on the Road to Italy: The Hubcap Ranch, the Napa Valley, and Italian American Identity 1.7 Felice Ceparano, The Gigli of Nola Festival in the Nineteenth Century 1.8 Kenneth Scambray, California and the Italian Immigrant Experience: The Artistic and Literary Contexts of Simon Rodia's Watts Towers 1.9 Luisa Del Giudice, Sabato Rodia's Towers in Watts: Art, Migration, and Italian Imaginaries 1.10 Joseph Sciorra, "Why a Man Makes the Shoes?": Italian American Art and Philosophy in Sabato Rodia's Watts Towers 1.11 George Epolito, Parallel Expression: Revealing the Artistic Contributions of Italian Immigrants in South America During the Era of Simon Rodia 2. The Watts Towers Contested: Conservation, Guardianship, and Cultural Heritage 2.1 Jeanne Morgan, CSRTW- Committee for Simon Rodia's Towers in Watts: Fifty Years of Guardianship 2.2 Jeffrey Herr, Simon Rodia's Towers: A Status Report 2.3 Sarah Schrank, Nuestro Pueblo: The Spatial and Cultural Politics of the Los Angeles' Watts Towers 2.4 Monica Barra, Reading the Watts Towers, Teaching Los Angeles: Story Telling and Public Art 2.5 Katia Ballacchino, Spires and Towers Between Tangible, Intangible and Contested Transnational Culture/Heritage 3. The Watts Towers & Community Development 3.1 Artists in Conversation: John Outterbridge, Judson Powell, Charles Dickson, Augustine Aguirre, Betye Saar, Kenzi Shiokawa (Panel moderated by Rosie Lee Hooks, Saturday, October 23, 2010, 121 Dodd Hall, UCLA) 3.2 Gail Brown, From Where I'm Standing Photo-Documentary Workshops at Watts Towers Arts Center: Building Community Through Self-Awareness and Self-Expression 3.3 Shirmel Hayden, The Watts Towers: Simon Rodia Fights Back Afterword Luisa Del Giudice, Personal Reflections on the Watts Towers Common Ground Initiative Appendices Appendix A1 - Conversations with Rodia 1953 - 1964 A.1.1 Interview of S. Rodia, with William Hale and Ray Wisniewsky, Watts, 1953. A.1.2. Interview with Simon Rodia (Excerpts) by William Hale and Ray Wisniewsky, Watts, 1953. A.1.3. Conversation with Sam Rodia, by Mae Babitz and Jeanne Morgan, Martinez, California, September 1960. A.1.4 Interviews, Part A, B, C with S. Rodia, by Ed Farrell, Jody Farrell, Bud Goldstone, Seymour Rosen, Martinez; University of California, Berkeley; and San Francisco Museum, California, September 1960. A.1.5 Report on Visits to Simon Rodia to CSRTW, from Jody Farrell (Bud Goldstone, Seymour Rosen, Ed Farrell and Jody Farrell), Martinez and Berkeley, California, October 17, 1961; and San Francisco Museum of Art, October 19, 1961. A.1.6 Letter to the CSRTW, by Claudio Segre [Segre], Re: Visit with Rodia in Martinez, California, January 25, 1962. A.1.7 "New Yorker Reporter Visits Rodia," Report to the CSRTW, Re: Interview with Simon Rodia and Relatives, by Calvin Trillin, Nicholas King, Jeanne Morgan, Beniamino Bufano, Martinez, California, August 30, 1964. A.1.8 Conversations with Rodia, Report by Jeanne Morgan, Re: Visits in Martinez, California, May 20, June 15, July 5, August 10, Sept. 10, 1964, and comments on New Yorker visit of Aug. 30, 1964. A.1.10 Last Conversation with Sam Rodia, Report by Jeanne Morgan, Re: Visit in Martinez, California, December 22, 1964. A.1.11 Interview, Part A and B, with S. Rodia, by Norma Ashley-David, Martinez, California, March [1964?]. A.1.12 Interview (Excerpts) with Rodia's Neighbors, Long Beach, California, by Bud Goldstone, 1963. A.4.13 Interview with S. Rodia, by Nicholas King, Martinez, California, September, 1990. Appendix A2 - CSRTW Campaign to Save the Watts Towers A.2.1 Nancie Cavanna Song Score, "Please Don't Tear Down the Towers" A.2.2 Campaign to Save the Watts Towers: Correspondence A.2.3 Miscellaneous Documents

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780823257973
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 496
  • ID: 9780823257973
  • ISBN10: 0823257975

Delivery Information

  • Saver Delivery: Yes
  • 1st Class Delivery: Yes
  • Courier Delivery: Yes
  • Store Delivery: Yes

Prices are for internet purchases only. Prices and availability in WHSmith Stores may vary significantly