City Council to Spend $75K to Study 'Chain Reaction' Sculpture's Stability

The late Paul Conrad, a Pulitzer Prize- winning cartoonist, designed the artwork, the future of which has been in doubt since 2011.

Paul Conrad's "Chain Reaction" sculpture in Santa Monica. Patch file photo.
Paul Conrad's "Chain Reaction" sculpture in Santa Monica. Patch file photo.

The Santa Monica City Council voted tonight to accept more than $100,000 in donations collected by supporters of the late Paul Conrad's "Chain Reaction" sculpture and authorized spending as much as $75,000 to complete a study of the sculpture's stability.

The mushroom-cloud-shaped sculpture designed by the Pulitzer Prize- winning cartoonist as a warning against the proliferation of nuclear weapons was given to the city in 1991 and sits in front of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

An inscription on the work reads, "This is a statement of peace. May it never become an epitaph."

Questions about the safety of the sculpture arose in 2011 when kids were found climbing on it. The city eventually recommended that the sculpture be taken down.

However, backers of the artwork, led by activist Jerry Rubin, began a signature-gathering and fundraising drive two years ago.

At its meeting tonight, the City Council voted 6-1, with Councilman Robert Holbrook dissenting, to accept the $101,290 raised by supporters of the sculpture and approved the $75,000 safety study and authorized its staff to develop a plan to restore the work and develop a landscape barrier around it.

--City News Service

Jerry Rubin February 26, 2014 at 03:13 PM
Art projects usually are the first to get cut, but Santa Monica has decided to accept the donated money and fund the rest of the cost of a long term restoration for this iconic landmarked peace sculpture. That sounds art friendly, landmark friendly, and peace friendly to me!
Riley February 26, 2014 at 07:48 PM
I thought a study of this magnificent piece had already been conducted. Why do cities insist on being stubborn about what the citizens want? Just restore the piece and stop hiring consultants and studying things. Paul Conrad was not just "a cartoonist" He was one of the most important political voices of our time. Chain Reaction was a gift to Santa Monica -- the CITIZENS of Santa Monica -- and to dilly dally around with this issue for this long should be embarrassing for the Corporation of Santa Monica. Restore and preserve the art NOW!
andy k. liberman February 26, 2014 at 08:11 PM
Good point Riley. Now that the ART is on track to be preserved-- isit not time to STOP NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Isn't that the issue, both for the Corporation of Santa Monica, it's citizens, and the denizens of the planet? Let's not again mistake the pointer for the thing being pointed at!!
Keith Martin Kaucher February 27, 2014 at 11:24 PM
City Council wasting money again as usual. I could bring in three heavy metal chassis fabrication guys from the car shops I work with and have them clean and re-weld and reinforce that thing for about $15K +/- and they'd have it done in less then a week.
Riley February 28, 2014 at 02:17 PM
@Keith Martin Kaucher - here's the thing - the money was raised by private citizens, anchored by a large donation from Mr. Norman Lear. Over $100,000 was raised privately from 100's of citizens, to help restore and preserve this piece. I thought the study had already been done and that the money was to go to the restoration. Does anyone know what the facts are?


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