I realize now that this title is a little vague. I assure you that George Lucas is not attempting to open an art museum just for things he has painted or drawn, rather he’s looking to found an art museum full of art that he owns. That includes illustrators like Maxfield Parrish, Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth and yes, indeed, plenty of design art and props from the Star Wars movies.
Lucas talked to CBS News yesterday about his as yet unrealized plans to building the museum in the San Francisco area sometime soon, as a way to share art with people of all walks, but in particular to “inspire young people.” While he acknowledges that artists like Parrish, Rockwell, and Wyeth weren’t exactly pushing the envelope of contemporary art as much as they were sentimentally illustrating hometown America, colorful fantasy landscapes, or the legends of King Arthury; he doesn’t much care: “You either look at the world through cynical eyes or through idealistic eyes,” he tells CBS. “I don’t see anything wrong with having an idealistic, sentimental, fun point of view.”
There’s nothing easier in the nerd world than ragging on George Lucas at this point, but I don’t even mean it as a dig when I say that I agree that we as a culture should be celebrating the art in what is considered “lowbrow,” and if there’s anybody out there who can do it well, George Lucas is one of them. He says the museum is partly “a dedication to cultural fantasy,” but also “designed to educate younger people into the idea of storytelling, into the idea of being able to paint your fantasies.” Understandably CBS focuses on his connection to Star Wars, but I’d be shocked if stuff from Indiana Jones and other Lucas-produced projects like Willow didn’t wind up there as well. After all, according to CBS, he’s got enough in his private collection “to rotate the museum’s displays every six months for six years.”
While Lucas hasn’t picked out an exact site yet, he calls it his big project of the moment. Whatever keeps you busy since the Lucasfilm/Disney merger, George. You build it, and the next time I’m in San Francisco, I’ll come.