Santa Monica’s Famous ‘Chain Reaction’ Sculpture Corroding

A temporary fence was placed around the Civic Center sculpture Chain Reaction earlier this week while engineers assess the structure’s integrity.

The sculpture by political cartoonist Paul Conrad was dedicated in 1991 and is made of copper tubing over a fiberglass core with an internal stainless steel frame that rests on a concrete base.

Upon observing members of the public, including children climbing and interacting with sculpture, Ron Takiguchi, Santa Monica building officer, was impelled to make an examination of the structure’s safety and noticed signs deterioration, said Jessica Cusick, cultural affairs manager for the city of Santa Monica.

“We hope to have [an estimated date for the removal of the fence] in a week or so,” Cusick said.

To protect the public, officials have constructed a temporary fence for both the safety of the structure and those that congregate around it, she said.

While conducting his examination, Takiguchi found that many of the fasteners which attach the copper tubing chain of the fiberglass core are missing or not fully imbedded and some exhibit severe corrosion, according to a statement released by the city.

The city is planning a review of the structure which will be conducted by an independent structural engineer and coordinated by the building officer and a qualified arts conservator.

After evaluating the structural integrity of the sculpture, the team will recommend how to best proceed, according to officials.

The sculpture was a gift to the city and was approved by Santa Monica City Council in 1991 after public process and debate, according to officials. The work was funded by a private donation to the Santa Monica Arts Foundation.


2 thoughts on “Santa Monica’s Famous ‘Chain Reaction’ Sculpture Corroding”

  1. You did not say what the conectors were made of but instead of just a structural engineer, I would suggest a qualified Professional Engineer with experiance in CORROSION to determine the cause and solution of this problem.

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