George Lucas is known worldwide for his big projects, big films, and big ego, all of which is sure to work out wonderfully in his post-Lucasfilm life nowadays as he strives to preserve art and culture in making a Lucas Museum, celebrating art and culture, and the history and future of film in a way he never had time to do while trying to run his filmatic empires. And for those of us living in Los Angeles, we are especially lucky in that the George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art has chosen LA (specifically a 7-acre track of land in Exposition Park) as its home over San Francisco. The new museum promises to store not only a vast treasure trove of collectibles from Lucas’s time making films like ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ but also beautiful pieces from artists such as Norman Rockwell, Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. It was years of work to find a home for the museum as Lucas originally planned for it to be in San Francisco, then Chicago, but eventually Los Angeles just worked out the best for him and his constituents.
According to the official announcement:
“After extensive due diligence and deliberation, the Board of Directors of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is pleased to announce plans to build the museum in Exposition Park in Los Angeles. We have been humbled by the overwhelmingly positive support we received from both San Francisco and Los Angeles during our selection process. Settling on a location proved to be an extremely difficult decision precisely because of the desirability of both sites and cities.”
In a statement made by Lucas about the kind of art one may find in the museum:
“The Lucas Museum 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. Visitors who might be less inclined to visit a traditional fine art museum will be invited to engage with and relate to art forms they recognize and love…One visit may change not only the way you think about museums but what you think art is. You’re already familiar with narrative art, because it’s the art that tells the stories you love. Our collection features the original, artist-made creations, from sketches to storyboards to sets and costumes from movies. And we showcase narrative art in paintings, illustrations, comic art, photography and many other media. We’re asking you to take another look at that art with us, and appreciate it for the artistry in the storytelling. We also invite you to explore the lineage of narrative art, so you can see what art inspired today’s work and artists.”
The museum already includes:
- “Traditional paintings by Edgar Degas, Winslow Homer and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, as well as a broad range of original works in popular mediums such as illustration, children’s art, comic art and photography from many periods and cultures. Major holdings include a large number of works by Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, and N.C. Wyeth;
- An in-depth exploration of all facets of cinematic art and its design processes, including original concept art, storyboards, set design, props, costume and fashion, animation and visual effects;
- Ground-breaking digital technologies and media used by artists in cinema and other art forms;
- An expansive art and cinematic research library (print and digital).”
Here’s a small sample of what to expect:
C-3PO concept art from The Phantom Menace by Doug Chiang.
A model of the Millennium Falcon from A New Hope
R2-D2 concept art from A New Hope
An X-wing model from A New Hope
Coles Phillips’ c. 1916 work “High Fashion (Maid & Lady)”
Original cover art to Robert Crumb’s Motor City Comics No. 2
All in all, it is quite a boon for the people of LA, and I for one will be making sure to visit the place once it opens, if for nothing else than to see the ‘Star Wars’ items, but also to take in everything else. Are you excited about the Lucas Museum coming to LA? Share your thoughts on the project in the comments below!