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Santa Monica Landmarks Commission to Take Up Chain Reaction
By Jason Islas
July 9, 2012 -- City staff is recommending that the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission not designate Paul Conrad’s iconic “Chain Reaction” sculpture as a local landmark.
The commission placed the issue on its agenda in an effort to save the 20-year-old, 26-foot work, which City engineers claim has become structurally unsound.
“The sculpture is recognized for its broad statement about peace and nuclear politics, staff wrote in its report. "However, its cultural influence on the City is unclear.
“Unlike the Santa Monica Pier sign, there is not community-wide acceptance of the piece as an iconic representation of the City or its progressive politics,” staff said.
Staff also maintains that granting the sculpture landmark status wouldn’t be much of a benefit when it comes to helping raise the $227,372 to $423,172 needed to repair the work.
“The piece may qualify for grant monies geared toward historic preservation from groups such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation," staff said. "However, for a landmark of such recent vintage (21 years old) the likelihood of Chain Reaction receiving such monies appears slim.”
The fund raising effort has netted only $2,500 so far, falling far short of the funds City staff believes it would take to repair the sculpture.
That hasn’t stopped those in the community from trying to save the statue.
Local peace activist Jerry Rubin said, “It's an uphill battle, but I think we need to go the extra mile for this.
"It's a special public art piece," he said.
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