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Sabato Rodia's Towers in WattsArt, Migrations, Development$
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Luisa Del Giudice

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823257966

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823257966.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 25 January 2021

An Era of Grand Ambitions

An Era of Grand Ambitions

Sam Rodia and California Modernism

(p.102) (p.103) An Era of Grand Ambitions
Sabato Rodia's Towers in Watts

Richard Cándida Smith

Fordham University Press

This chapter explores the conception of Rodia as the quintessential modernist artist of California, an inspiration who influenced the state's cultural life fully equal to that of any other visual artist who had lived and worked in the state. It argues that Rodia was the equal of Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, or Paul Klee for many in the generation of artists who came of age during or after World War II. He provided an exemplary model for transcending the dual challenge of personal marginality and regional provinciality. He created a work that was original, despite the absence of institutional resources to support his project. Each of his limitations, whether of materials, real estate, finances, or his own education, passed through his creative imagination to become a positive element strengthening his statement.

Keywords:   Sabatino Rodia, Sam Rodia, Watts Towers, California, modernist artists, cultural history, visual artists

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