From the Archive
The Watts Towers were constructed by Italian immigrant Simon Rodia between 1921 and 1955. Incorporating found materials, including glass bottles, broken ceramics, and metal fragments, the towers are a monumental example of American folk art and vernacular tradition. They have served as an inspiration to artists, especially those such as Betye Saar who use found objects to create collage and assemblage. In the 1960s and 1970s the Watts Towers Art Center, located near the towers, was an important gathering place for artists who were not represented by the city’s art galleries, especially when the center was run by artist Noah Purifoy for a short time in 1964.