Between 1921 and 1954, Italian immigrant Sabato (Sam) Rodia built an elaborate structure in his backyard in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles—three hundred-foot towers and numerous smaller sculptures, all made of concrete-covered steel embedded with tens of thousands of small objects such as shells, tile, and glass bottles. This presentation analyzes Rodia’s use of ornamentation, especially ceramic tile, for the ways that it expresses his artistic vision, relates to diasporic Italian vernacular building traditions, and acts as a palimpsest of early twentieth-century material culture in Southern California.
Emma R. Silverman, Lecturer at California State University, Sacramento
Free and open to the public; registration required. Please visit the event webpage for additional information. Hosted by the Association for Preservation Technology International.