George Lucas to Open a Billion Dollar Museum in LA

George Lucas
A rendering of the George Lucas Museum

It’s easy to assume that George Lucas spends all his time being sad about losing Star Wars. In fact, the “American Graffiti” director has been working on a wholly new project, with his Museum of Narrative Art now planned to go ahead in Exposition Park, Los Angeles. Don Bacigalupi will be president, with Judy Kim serving as deputy director. With a 10,000 piece collection including works by Norman Rockwell, Carl Banks and Alberto Vargas, Lucas is using both his acquisitions and his large wealth, aided in large part by selling his franchise for $5 billion, in order to start the non-profit museum. As a statement from his website writes:

“Mr. Lucas’s collection provides the seed from which the Museum’s collection will grow for decades to come. From that foundation, the curators of the Museum will build a collection that will unfold like any great work: with greater depth and breadth, and diversity in both media and maker, and characters as varied as the tellers.”

What Can We Expect From The George Lucas Museum?

If anyone knows something about narrative in art, it’s George Lucas. His Star Wars series were heavily influenced by Joseph Campbell and his concept of the monomyth. It expertly pasted together several different strands of narrative conventions to tell a holistic, mythical story. Given that the series has inspired a pseudo-religion, it’s safe to say that Lucas is a consummate thinker and storyteller. Star Warswith its cyclical structure, works as an excellent introduction to how narrative conventions work. Likewise, the museum, with a focus on juxtaposing diverse pieces against each other, will see him expanding that theme. The inclusivity is exciting, making all art part of an accessible whole. As the museum says, it will have an “unprecedentedly expansive and open definition of art, acknowledging that all visual art forms can make a meaningful connection with viewers.”

High art snobs beware, as it “will be a barrier free museum where artificial divisions between “high” art and “popular” art are absent, allowing you to explore a wide array of compelling visual storytelling.” John Berger, who died recently, would be proud in seeing such a democratic approach to museum going.

The Museum, though looking to expand, will initially focus on three different strands:

  • The History of Narrative Art
  • The Art of Cinema
  • Digital Art

Additionally, the museum will have a focus on education for people of all ages. There will be state-of-the-art theatres, workshops and lecture halls, as well as a huge library. More remarkably, there is a focus on social welfare. As the museum states: “free and affordable access and engaging educational opportunities to youth is central to our mission. Special tours, talks, workshops and screenings will be tailored to serve the curriculum of students from grammar school to college age.”

Pieces We Can Expect To See

Based on what the website showcases and Lucas’ own collection, below are some pieces we can expect to see:

George Lucas
“Kim Novak in Broad Brimmed Hat Resting Chin on Hand”, c. 1950 by Alberto Vargas
George Lucas
“On The Set Of Blade Runner,” 1982. From http://lucasmuseum.org/

 

George Lucas
“Ecstasy,” 1929 by Maxfield Parrish

 

George Lucas
“Money Bin Memories,” 1972 by Carl Banks

 

George Lucas
“The Pioneer and The Vision,” c.1918 by Newell Convers Wyeth

 

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