PRINT October 1965

Homage to Sam: Tribute to Simon Rodia

Simon Rodia died in Martinez, California on July 16, 1965. Shortly before his death Miss Kat Steinitz, the archivist of the Watts Towers Committee asked Mr, Alfred H. Barr, Jr., for his impressions of the Towers, which Mr. Barr had visited on a trip to Los Angeles. The letter reproduced below contains his response.

The answer to the questions asked by Mr. Barr in his postscript is still, “No, nothing.”

Greensboro, Vermont July 20, 1965

Dear Kate Steinitz:

I SPENT FIVE EXHAUSTING AND WONDER-FULL DAYS in Los Angeles: enthusiastic collectors with more Braques than Bengstons, the disquieting moralities of Conner and Kienholz, the ebullient new art museum, the sense of wealth, generosity, energy, uncertain pride and certain confidence.

For me the two most unforgettable things I saw in Los Angeles were shrines. One was a step from the art museum and, in a way, a refuge from it. There was no other

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