March 7, 2013

George Lucas' Cultural Arts Museum Proposal And Personal Thoughts


From George Lucas with respect to a proposed Lucas Cultural Arts Museum in the Presidio:

The Bay Area has always been home to forward-thinkers and artistic innovators - people who push to do things that haven’t been done before. Men like Eadweard Muybridge, Philo Farnsworth and Steve Jobs. Companies like Pixar, Adobe, and Facebook. There’s a history of invention here that’s as exciting as it is infectious. That’s one of the reasons why I’m here, why I raised my family here, and why I chose to start my own business here. It’s also why I chose this remarkable region for a new museum.
I want to create a gathering place where children, parents, and grandparents can experience everything from the great illustrators such as Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth and Maxfeld Parrish, to comic art and children’s book illustrations along with exhibitions of fashion, cinematic arts, and digital art. The Bay Area was the birthplace of digital arts three decades ago.
The Lucas Cultural Arts Museum will be a center highlighting populist art from some of the great illustrators of the last 150 years through today’s digital art used to create animated and live-action movies, visual effects, props and sketches. They’re all united by their ability to capture our shared cultural story—from Rockwell’s pencil sketches to computer generated moving images. More than just exhibiting illustration and technological innovation, this cross-section of art can help to describe and define our culture—its past, present, and future. It provides a unique way to see what’s emotionally important to us as a society and how we communicate those feelings without words. The best way to truly understand art is to experience it.

The construction of the museum would be fully funded by Lucas and endowed with two $400 million gifts. The full proposal:

First Published: March 7, 2013 7:30 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

So cool. This has my vote.
Wait, do we get to vote?

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at March 7, 2013 7:43 AM

Okay, I retract my negative comment from yesterday. I thought we were talking a Star Wars Museum. This is so much better....

Posted by: curmudgeon at March 7, 2013 9:14 AM

Underground parking. 200 seat movie theater. Restaurant/cafe attached. Architecture to be consistent with historic nature of Presidio. Okay, I am sold. Build it.

Posted by: Jlasf at March 7, 2013 9:27 AM

You must be pretty gullible if you don't see this for what it is. The final product will be heavily skewed towards Lucas' "artistic" accomplishments -- and a bunch of cheesy Norman Rockwell drawings.

This "museum" could have a place in San Francisco, but certainly not on this particular piece of land. How does the proposed museum relate in any way to Crissy Field, the GG, the Bay, or all the outdoor recreation that people enjoy in the area?

And finally, no one has addressed how the traffic from all the visiting children, parents, and grandparents will make it past the bottlenecks created by the Doyle Drive project.

Posted by: Joshua at March 7, 2013 9:56 AM

A museum for illustration, with some overlap.
The Lucas Museum of Popular Culture.

We already have four museums devoted to high culture, Legion, De Young, Asian, and Modern, so why not?

Posted by: conifer at March 7, 2013 10:02 AM

^ but why here? What is the relationship to CF, GG, Bay, or anything else?

Posted by: Joshua at March 7, 2013 10:07 AM

I like it

Posted by: Sam at March 7, 2013 10:23 AM

Joshua - This museum has the same relationship to the Golden Gate and bay as the Palace of the Legion of Honor.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at March 7, 2013 10:42 AM

Asking how a museum relates to a location is pretty much saying that you don't like the idea and have no clue why. Locations become what we make of them. How do the De Young and the Academy of Science relate to the park? They didn't until they were built. Now they form a kind of core.

Posted by: frog at March 7, 2013 11:30 AM


The Palace of Fine Arts is looking for a new tenant, perhaps Lucas should go there.

Posted by: Joshua at March 7, 2013 11:41 AM

I like that idea Joshua, the Palace of Fine Arts always made me think of Maxfield Parrish anyways.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at March 7, 2013 12:11 PM

And it reminds me a bit of Naboo, come to think of it :-)

Posted by: Joshua at March 7, 2013 2:02 PM

It's funny that the connection to the Presidio should be questioned, considering the variety of other businesses and cultural institutions in the Presidio today that are completely unrelated to the Golden Gate Bridge or the Army. For instance, the Disney Family museum that chronicles the history of Walt Disney and his animation. Or Industrial light and Magic and Lucas Arts which produce special effects and digital animation. Come to think of it, a museum focusing on the history of illustration and animation art would fit right in, wouldn't it?

Posted by: Adam at March 7, 2013 3:38 PM

Mason St slready backs up every sunny afternoon, especially eastbound. Having Lucas' miseum here would require expanding Mason St to 4 lanes and reconfiguring the Marina Blvd intersection.

It would be awesome to have the Lucas museum near the new Exploratorium. You could visit the museum of cartoon and movie physics, then the museum of reality physics.

Posted by: drive do not at March 7, 2013 5:10 PM

May I suggest we do not look this particular gift horse in the mouth? All costs to be borne by Lucas, and two further endowments of $400million ... what's not to like? It does relate to the Bay, and to GGBridge, and GGPark as we know these entities today. I just find it very tiring when people automatically find a reason to say no, rather than look at reasons to say yes please.

Posted by: Oceangoer at March 7, 2013 7:24 PM

"All costs to be borne by Lucas"

All costs, save the impact of increased traffic on those regular users of crissy field. That's just a minor externality.

Posted by: drive do not at March 7, 2013 7:35 PM

I am a regular user of Crissy Field and am sure the impact of traffic is considerably less than, say the Americas Cup, or Blue Angels, or any other event that brings people to the spot. Increased traffic is always used as an excuse not to do things ... and yes, it is often a legitimate excuse, but in this case I believe it is outweighed by the benefits.

Posted by: Oceangoer at March 7, 2013 10:13 PM

Sounds the the perfect project for Hunter's Point.

In all seriousness, from a planning standpoint would not something sports / outdoors / SFBay related be much better placed here at the exercise epicenter of the city than another tourist-oriented facility that realistically could be located in nearly any part of the city?

Posted by: tj at March 8, 2013 7:08 PM

Am developing an online exhibition of California children's books, especially fairy tales with fabulous illustrations. Any interest?

Posted by: Jim Silverman at March 14, 2013 7:52 PM

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