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George Lucas Museum Makes Grexit from Chicago

Filmmaker’s failed Bay Area museum proposal may get a sequel.


Perhaps taking the message on all those Brexit “Leave” T-shirts to heart, today George Lucas announced that he’s giving up on plans to construct the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago, two years after losing a bid to build it as a Beaux Arts–style behemoth in the Presidio. The plan to bring his collection of Norman Rockwell Americana art and movie trinkets to the banks of Lake Michigan virtually stalled out after an ongoing federal lawsuit blocked construction.

Which means that Lucas might be back soon with a sequel! As the Chronicle’s John King reports, the Marin-based filmmaker has once again set his sights on California. And the thing is, this time it might not be quite so painful: The museum’s focus has sharpened, honing its focus to the art of storytelling, since Lucas picked up his light saber and stormed out of San Francisco the first time. Plus, a museum served primarily by ferries from Fisherman’s Wharf and Jack London Square, while expensive, could in theory serve as an anchor to what many city officials envision as a reenergized city neighborhood. “The museum could give Treasure Island a heart and a destination,” Supervisor Aaron Peskin told the Chron in May.

And, not for nothing, Lucas has previously indicated he’d be footing the bill for construction of the $700 million museum, in addition to the endowment to run the joint.

Thing is, we once again have competition for this museum we’re not so sure we really want. Los Angeles, home of Lucas’s alma mater and a veritable trove of obnoxious displays of personal wealth and mediocre taste, is also making a play (again!) to land the museum. In a statement, Mayor Eric Garcetti said, “The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art would be perfect for Los Angeles.”

And maybe L.A. will prevail—especially if Lucas decides to colonize Treasure Island with something like the Space Mountain-y design he commissioned for Chicago. If he tried that here, you can bet it’s going to be locked up in CEQA until Tatooine freezes over. 


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