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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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“Why a Man Makes the Shoes?”

“Why a Man Makes the Shoes?”

Italian American Art and Philosophy in Sabato Rodia’s Watts Towers

(p.183) “Why a Man Makes the Shoes?”
Sabato Rodia's Towers in Watts

Joseph Sciorra

Fordham University Press

This chapter proposes that Rodia's architectural fantasy emerged in relationship to a larger set of interrelated sociocultural precepts immersed in southern Italian peasant and Italian American immigrant laborer perspectives. It explores the Watts Towers as the elucidation of, and resolution to, a turbulent life of displacement, death, alcoholism, and abandonment that was part of Rodia's Italian American subjectivity. It focuses on the social context of his life and artistic venture, as opposed to the biography that perpetuates the shopworn “outsider” narrative. To this end, it aims to locate Rodia's unique vision, individual drive, and innovative technology as emerging from a set of cultural practices that were part of a willful act of reinvention.

Keywords:   Sabatino Rodia, Watts Towers, Italian American immigrants, architectural fantasy, immigrant laborers

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