Back in 2013, we reported on George Lucas’ incredible idea to build a museum, America’s first actually, that would be entirely dedicated to illustration, comics, film, and animation, from Herriman and Rockwell to Crumb and the Fleischers.
Lucas, who became a multi-billionaire after the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney, has pledged to fund the entire thing himself, from the construction costs to the museum endowment to the value of the collection, which would run about $1.5 billion in total. Here is a preview of some of the gorgeous artwork that would be seen in the museum. It’s an offer that any city would be insane to refuse, but as this frustrating Businessweek piece explains, both San Francisco and Chicago have thus far rejected him.
The reasons for turning down Lucas’ idea are almost entirely arbitrary. In San Francisco, they complained that the museum design was too old-fashioned, so when Lucas proposed a modern building in Chicago, Chicagoans complained that it looked too modern. In San Francisco, the federally-operated Presidio Trust came up with a rule that the museum couldn’t be taller than 45 feet, while in Chicago, a citizens’ group took Lucas to federal court complaining that if he built a museum on the city’s lakeshore, Oprah might want one too.