CIVIC CENTER — A renowned artist has become involved in the campaign to save “Chain Reaction,” the sculpture designed by the late Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Paul Conrad.
Famed artist Edward Ruscha made a $5,000 donation a week and a half ago to the campaign, said Paul Conrad’s son, David Conrad.
Conrad said television writer and producer Norman Lear, who produced iconic sitcoms “Sanford and Son,” “The Jeffersons,” and “All in the Family,” will possibly be helping the campaign with fundraising in the future. Lear hasn’t made any financial contributions, Conrad said.
“He has pledged his support and he’s a friend of the family, so he just stepped in to help out,” Conrad said.
The sculpture became the center of attention two years ago when a Building and Safety official noticed children climbing on it. There is concern that the inner structure may have deteriorated over the years. The observation led to a recommendation that City Hall remove the piece from its public art portfolio and either donate it to another institution or get rid of it altogether.
Community members took up the torch for the sculpture and were told that the only hope of saving the piece was to raise $400,000 by Feb. 14, 2014 to pay for what City Hall has declared necessary repairs to make the sculpture structurally sound.
Conrad called Ruscha and Lear’s involvement “two very big boosts for our campaign.”
“I think it’s really big. One of the arguments we’ve heard in the past is ‘[is]this really art?’ and to have someone of Ed Ruscha’s caliber supporting it means yes, it is art,” Conrad said. “And Norman Lear, we just know that he is well-connected and going to be very helpful.”
Supporters will gather at the sculpture on Aug. 6 between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. in memory of the victims of the 1945 nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. They have also planned a fundraiser for “Chain Reaction” at the Bergamot Station Arts Center on Aug. 18 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.