According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s Devin Leonard, George Lucas is having a lot of trouble getting his museum of narrative art built. Lucas thinks his popularity has created opposition from envious snobs; the cities feel Lucas has been difficult to work with:
Lucas has long been vexed by popularity: It’s the source of his riches, but also the thing that, he says, prompts elites to dismiss his work. It’s also an amplifier for discontent when crowds and critics complain that he has no taste. And yet in retirement, he’s mounted a legacy project that’s grand even by the standards of someone who thinks on a galactic scale. He wants to construct a Lucas museum to house and display his art collection—much of it proudly lowbrow, such as works by the sentimentalist Norman Rockwell; original Flash Gordon comic book art; Mad magazine covers; and memorabilia from his own Star Wars films. According to an early plan for the museum, his trove of Star Wars material includes 500,000 artifacts from the prequels alone.
Lucas refers to such works as “narrative art,” the kind that “tells a story.” He believes they’ve been unfairly ignored by snooty critics and curators, and he wants his museum to rectify that. Lucas has offered to build his museum in a major American city for free. Including construction costs, an endowment, and the value of the artwork, his organization says the total value of his gift is $1.5 billion.
“It’s an epic act of generosity and altruism,” says Don Bacigalupi, the museum effort’s president. “George Lucas, as with any person of great resources and great success, could choose to do whatever he wants to do with his resources, and he has chosen to give an extraordinary gift to the people of a city and the world.”