Concept Design: Renderings. Image courtesy of Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. Used under authorization. All rights reserved.

George Lucas’s art museum given green light

Rebecca Atkinson, 05.07.2017
Filmaker’s $1bn museum to open in LA in 2021
Los Angeles (LA) city council has approved George Lucas’s plans to build a $1bn museum in Exposition Park showcasing the filmmaker’s extensive collection of popular art and movie memorabilia.

Lucas and his wife Mellody Hodson will fund the not-for-profit Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which is expected to begin construction early next year and take three years to complete.

The couple announced LA as a location earlier this year, having previously pitched the idea to Chicago and considered San Francisco.

In a statement released at the time, the board of the museum said its location in a "promise zone" where 35% of people live in poverty would enable it to "have the greatest impact on the broader community, fulfilling our goal of inspiring, engaging and educating a broad and diverse visitorship”.

After the council approved the plans, LA mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted:

The museum will house about 10,000 paintings and works on paper and 30,000 film-related objects, which are privately owned by the creator of film francises such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones.

The collection includes paintings by Edgar Degas, Winslow Homer and Pierre-Auguste Renoir; a broad range of illustrations, including comic art; costume designs, set paintings and objects from such films such as Casablanca; and digital art including examples by Andy Warhol, Zaha Hadid and Pixar Animation.

The museum will also feature cinemas, temporary exhibition spaces and a library.

Situated on two parking lots, the new building will be designed by Ma Yansong of MAD Architects. One and a half thousand construction jobs are expected to be created during the build, with a further 350 permanent jobs proposed for the museum itself.

The museum’s founding president, Don Bacigalupi, is an experienced museum director having previously headed the San Diego Museum of Art, the Toledo Museum of Art and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

According to its website, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be "a barrier free museum where artificial divisions between 'high' art 'popular art are absent".

"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 recognise and love," the museum claimed.