Heathware being stamped | Still from "Heath Ceramics: The Making of a California Classic" ABs10

Preserving the Watts Towers

 

Artbound's editorial team has reviewed and rated the most compelling weekly articles. After putting two articles up for a vote, the audience chose this article to be made into a short-format documentary.

Deemed outsider art, folk art, and other similarly nondescript and fluid labels, the Watts Towers do not necessarily fit the bill for a standard definition or understanding of art. But no matter what they are called, the Towers remain a cultural jewel of Los Angeles. And within the cracks and structure of these Towers lies an unfolding story and scientific mystery of sorts.

In 1921, Sabato Simon Rodia started with his home — he mosaicked the façade of his house, and some of the nearby walls. He used glass 7-Up bottles, sea glass, shells, broken plates, toys, tiles, rocks, and whatever else he could get his hands on.

And then he continued. By 1955 he had built seventeen structures, with three of those towers being most notable (the tallest at 99.5 feet high). Beginning with steel structural bases, Rodia enveloped these structural cage-like elements with concrete cement and imbued them with decorative knick-knacks and found treasures -- all while free-climbing up and down the towers unprotected, without scaffolding or a harness. And with this, the Watts Towers were built.

Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

Jeffrey Deitch's Los Angeles

The charming, unusual and at times polarizing Jeffrey Deitch left Los Angeles in 2013 after a tumultuous run as the director of MOCA ending in his resignation. He makes his return with a new gallery opening with the first LA exhibit of renowned Chinese artist and activist, Ai Weiwei. A behind-the-scenes look at the contemporary art world through the eyes of a legendary art dealer and curator.

Heath Ceramics: The Making of a California Classic

"Artbound" looks at the dinnerware of Heath Ceramics and a design that has stood the test of time since the company began in the late 1940’s. Through the writings of Edith Heath, the founder and designer of Heath Ceramics and voiced by renowned chef Nancy Silverton, this episode explores the groundbreaking work of a woman who created a classic of American design.

Masters of Modern Design: The Art of the Japanese American Experience

From the iconic typeface of “The Godfather” book cover to Herman Miller’s Noguchi table, the influence of Japanese American artists and designers in postwar American art and design is unparalleled. While this second generation of Japanese American artists have been celebrated in various publications and exhibitions with their iconic work, less-discussed is how the World War II incarceration — a period of intense discrimination and hardship — has also had a powerful effect on the lives of artists such as Ruth Asawa, George Nakashima, Isamu Noguchi, S. Neil Fujita and Gyo Obata.

Día de Los Muertos / Day of the Dead

Día de los Muertos has been adapted for centuries from its pre-colonial roots to the popular depictions in mass media today. Inspired by rich Oaxacan traditions, it was brought to East Los Angeles in the 1970s as a way to enrich and reclaim Chicano identity through a small celebration at Self Help Graphics and Art. Since then, the celebration has grown in proportions with renditions enacted in communities all around the world.

How Sweet The Sound: Gospel In Los Angeles

Gospel music would not be what it is today if not for the impact left by Los Angeles in the late '60s and early '70s, a time defined by political movements across the country. Artists like James Cleveland and Aretha Franklin captured live recordings of the church experience of South Central and the voices and sentiment of the people coming together to give birth to a new gospel sound and the election of L.A.’ s first black mayor, Tom Bradley.

  • 2020-01-01T19:00:00-08:00
    Link TV