lacma & watts tower from arlis pasadena

As part of my time at ARLIS/NA’s 2013 annual conference, I took a tour of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers.

Clockwork Orange
Clockwork Orange

At LACMA, we were given a private tour of the Stanley Kubrick exhibition. You walk through the exhibition following the chronology of Kubrick’s films, viewing on-set photographs, video clips, and costumes and props. Fun fact of the tour: Dr. Strangelove was suppose to end with a pie fight.

With about a half hour to myself, I wandered through the contemporary art. Stephen Prina was on view as well as Ends and Exits: Contemporary Art from LACMA and the Broad Art Foundation. I saw my first Richard Serra!

David Wojnarowicz
David Wojnarowicz
scientists work at Watts Towers
scientists work at Watts Towers

Before leaving LACMA, we had a lecture by a leading scientist on the preservation of Watts. The Towers were built by Italian immigrant Simon (aka Sam) Rodia during his ~30 years at the residence. He worked alone, without scaffolding (the tallest tower is almost 100 feet), building with reinforced cement and broken tiles. Heat is a major trouble factor for the work. Cement cracks are opening wider and wider every day. To date, preservationists attempts to fill the cracks haven’t held.

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