George Lucas Can’t Give His $1.5 Billion Museum Away

When George Lucas sold Star Wars to Disney in 2013, it was his aim to retire, to scale back his imprint and live away from the public eye. Part of that plan is to give away most of his vast art and memorabilia collection. Lucas would like to put it all in a museum somewhere. He's offered to pay for the construction of such a museum, and even set up an endowment for running costs. You'd think that cities would be falling all over each other to land such a deal, but that's not what happened.    

But so far, Lucas hasn’t found a permanent home for his museum. The monumental project has brought him almost as much grief as Jar Jar Binks, the prequel creature from the planet Naboo with an oddly Jamaican accent that some found racially offensive. Lucas tried to build in San Francisco’s Presidio, which is a national park, and then on Chicago’s downtown waterfront, only to abandon both sites after being assailed by local forces. Some people derided his architecture. Others knocked the artwork. Lucas seemed to find most irritating those who said they didn’t mind his proposal but thought he needed to be more flexible about where he put his building. He had long suffered highfalutin critics as a nuisance when he was selling tickets to movies. Now they were thwarting his will when he was trying to give something away.

In Round 3, Lucas is pitting San Francisco and Los Angeles against each other as potential host sites. “Call it hedging your bets, call it beefing up your odds, call it the architectural equivalent of quite publicly asking two people to prom on the same day: Lucas’s dual-track proposal is an unconventional strategy by any measure,” wrote Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne.

Location is not the only problem. Proposed building designs have been rejected because of size or architectural style. Local response to the project hasn't always been welcoming. Some view the art offered as lowbrow. Read the particulars of the museum that Lucas can't give away at Bloomberg.  -via Digg

(Image credit: Simon Abranowicz)

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My first thought was to put in near Las Vegas as well. He probably can't put it on the Strip because of the expense, but he can get it close enough to the city that people will go. And Vegas has lots of cheap desert land within an easy drive.

Maybe he can get it close to Lake Mead or something if he wants scenic.
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Great collections / great museums have long suffered from critics. One example is the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. It has Armand Hammer's excellent collection of European art, but since his family no longer controls the board, all of it is in storage and they use his endowed space to show horrendous local artists.

In my opinion, Lucas should do what the Getty did after being driven from Pacific Palisades. Find some worthless land near a big city and spend his billion developing it and ways to visit it. Urban sprawl, Star Wars fans and and Uber will bring visitors.
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