Mushroom Cloud Made of Chains
Santa Monica, California
Sculpted in 1991 by political cartoonist Paul Conrad, "Chain Reaction" towers 26 feet high. The surprisingly realistic atomic explosion mushroom cloud is made of copper chains welded together so tightly that it could be mistaken for a really tall sculpted shrub. Designed as a protest against the Cold War, the artwork was hated by most of Santa Monica's residents (they agreed with its politics, but thought it was ugly and scary), and it only received the approval of the city council by one vote. In 2012 Chain Reaction received landmark status, but certain city officials still hate the thing and claim that the now-tarnished artwork is a safety hazard that should be destroyed.