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Chain Reaction.

Mushroom Cloud Made of Chains

Field review by the editors.

Santa Monica, California

Erected in December 1991 by political cartoonist Paul Conrad, "Chain Reaction" towers 26 feet high. The surprisingly realistic atomic explosion mushroom cloud weighs 5.5 tons, and is made of copper and steel 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 disliked by many Santa Monica 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.

Time passed and opinions mellowed. In 2012 Chain Reaction received landmark status. But certain city officials still hated the thing, and claimed that the aging sculpture was a safety hazard that should be torn down since it would cost a half-million dollars to repair. The sculpture's supporters said that was nonsense, and though they failed to raise the money to repair it in Feb. 2014 the city council kicked in $100,000 in city funds and agreed to let Chain Reaction stay.

Mushroom Cloud Made of Chains

1725 Main St., Santa Monica, CA
On the east side of Main St., just south of I-10, in a little public park between the Civic Auditorium and the LA Superior Court building.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Original Hot Dog StickOriginal Hot Dog Stick, Santa Monica, CA - < 1 mi.
Route 66: End of the TrailRoute 66: End of the Trail, Santa Monica, CA - < 1 mi.
Shape-Shifting Head of David LynchShape-Shifting Head of David Lynch, Santa Monica, CA - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Metropolitan Pit Stop: Niche Minicar Museum, Valley Village, CA - 12 mi.

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