Thursday, March 29, 2012
A controversy has been bubbling over Paul Conrad's anti-nuclear war sculpture in Santa Monica, Chain Reaction, and the latest fallout may spell the end of the 26-foot tall mushroom cloud near the city's Civic Center.
With the deterioration of the steel, fiberglass and copper sculpture, mostly due to the sea air and sun, Santa Monica's Arts Commission and Public Art Committee have recommended the city deaccession the five-and-a-half-ton piece rather than attempt to preserve it. Citing public-safety concerns, the city erected a temporary fence around the sculpture in June.
Installed in 1991, the sculpture was a gift to the city by the artist, paid for by an anonymous donor for $250,000. It was supposed to have been made of bronze, which tends to require little maintenance and resists the elements over time. Instead, the piece was constructed with a stainless steel internal frame, a Fiberglas core and copper tubing for the chain links.