For the second time this month, George Lucas has delayed announcement of which city will be the site of the planned Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. It's now said the announcement may not come until the end of January (shown, a Kelly Freas Mad magazine cover painting from the Lucas Collection).
The delay is puzzling—to me at least—because I never believed L.A. was seriously in the running. Lucas could have established his museum anywhere. He chose San Francisco (in 2013). When that ran into roadblocks, his second choice was Chicago (2014). That fell apart too. Then in 2016 Lucas announced he was considering San Francisco and Los Angeles. Obvious-to-me inference: Lucas was using L.A. as a bluff, a way to warn San Franciscans that this time they'd better approve his plans without any grief. Eli Broad did much the same thing with his museum, negotiating with Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Culver City, and Los Angeles.
Lucas had architect Ma Yansong produce renderings for the museum in San Francisco's Treasure Island and L.A.'s Exposition Park. Hey, a bluff has to be credible.
|Ma Yansong rendering of Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Los Angeles|
My reading isn't the media's. In the past week publications from Bloomberg to Los Angeles Magazine to Los Angeles Sentinel have run pieces on the supposedly intense competition between SF and LA for the museum. Most writers seem to take it as a given that Lucas is still deciding which city he wants.
What does the delay mean? I still don't think it means L.A. has much of a shot at being chosen. My best guess is that the Lucas people are still nailing down a very complex deal with San Francisco. They figure they can use the leverage of a plan B a little while longer.