The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art has delayed its opening again as construction continues.
After previously pushing its planned launch from 2022 to 2023, the Los Angeles-based museum that is founded by filmmaker George Lucas and wife Mellody Hobson announced Tuesday that its targeted opening has now been delayed by another two years. The museum, currently slated to open in 2025 at Exposition Park, will feature a five-story, 300,000-square-foot building on an 11-acre campus that includes a surrounding park and gardens.
Director and CEO Sandra Jackson-Dumont emphasized that the facility, featuring a focus on all forms of narrative art rather than solely displaying movie memorabilia, will mix both high-brow and mass-produced work. She also shared that the museum, which will include two 299-seat movie theaters, will house the Lucasfilm archive.
“It’s humbling and energizing to see how all aspects of this new public resource are taking shape,” she said in a statement. “We believe that narrative art can connect us and help shape a more just society. As a result, every element of this institution contributes to that idea — the site is one physical manifestation of that.”
During a press visit Tuesday, Jackson-Dumont told The Hollywood Reporter that delays were due solely to supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic: “The pivots we’ve had to make are a result of that fallout.”
Additionally, THR learned that construction is currently focused on adding the panels that will clad the building, along with planting trees in the extensive park grounds (designed by studio MLA designed for an area of LA historically lacking in parks). The early-stage site tour also revealed the beginnings of an outdoor rain fountain to cool the building with recycled water, and a moat-like cavity surrounding the building, which protects it in the case of a seismic event. An oculus in the center of the construction gives access to the open sky, and the circular roof will be marked by trees on one half and solar panels on the other.
“The Lucas Museum sits at the intersection of art, people, places and ideas. George Lucas has said that narrative art — the art of telling stories through images — embodies the beliefs and ideals that hold communities together,” Jackson-Dumont said at the event. “With a founder like George Lucas who created one of the most well known and enduring worlds of our lifetime, we can imagine that the capacity of narrative art to create worlds along with their stories is a strong theme in the Lucas Museum collection.”
On the bottom floor of the museum, there are plans to build out a café, retail area, the two movie theaters and a major exhibition space on the north side; the south side will be marked for “education and engagement,” boasting a unique library (featuring several books that have inspired Lucas’ approach to narrative). High up on the fifth floor, there’s a space designated for museum events with the possibility of being rented out for other private gatherings; it will have a full AV set-up for presentations and allow for access to the balcony, which runs the circumference of the building. “I almost want to call this narrative architecture,” Jackson-Dumont told THR.
Beyond the museum construction itself, the grounds will also hold a children’s meadow, sculpture park, and amphitheater for future programming. To get there, visitors will walk along a path covered by a hanging garden (which is reportedly one of Lucas’ favorite features).
As far as the artwork collection is concerned, Jackson-Dumont told guests Tuesday that the museum has already acquired about 13 Ernie Barnes paintings, a major portion of LA-based Kadir Nelson’s body of work and the entire archive of Mexican graphic artist José Guadalupe Posada (known for his images of skeletons that define the narrative of Day of the Dead). In about two quarters, she expects to share more curatorial and acquisition updates.
“The museum’s wonderfully evolving collection of narrative art features all kinds of perspectives that are multifaceted through the stories that humans have told over time,” she said, adding: “Through these works, we hope to ignite complex and nuanced conversations that may impact the way folks see the world and each other.”
Sept. 20, 8:06 pm Updated with Jackson-Dumont’s quotes from the press visit.