Chain Reaction

Photo by Chain Reaction, Paul Conrad (1991). Posted January 2014.
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Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Paul Conrad's "Chain Reaction" sculpture in Santa Monica, the subject of a grass-roots preservation campaign, might well survive to remind future generations of the horrors of nuclear war.

Now that activists have raised funds to pay for some of the needed upgrades, the city manager said he plans to recommend that the city cover the remaining costs. A City Council vote is scheduled for Feb. 25.

Conrad, a three-time Pulitzer winner who died at 86 in 2010, was paid $250,000 by a private donor to sculpt the work. The 51/2-ton, 26-foot-tall sculpture features a mass of tangled chains in the shape of a mushroom cloud. The artwork — inscribed with the words, "This is a statement of peace. May it never become an epitaph" — has stood at the Santa Monica Civic Center since 1991.

At first, Conrad planned to build the sculpture of easy-to-maintain bronze. Instead, it was crafted of copper tubing over a fiberglass core and stainless steel frame.

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