|Norman Rockwell, "The Checkup," c. 1957. George Lucas collection|
• Why L.A.? My surmise, very wrong as it turned out, was that Lucas would side with the perception of San Francisco as classy and L.A. as crass. ("Isn't it nice that people who prefer Los Angeles to San Francisco live there?" —Herb Caen.)
It appears that Mayor Eric Garcetti's arguments resonated. In L.A. the Lucas museum is likely to draw more visitors and more diverse visitors. It will inspire more filmmakers and artists. It will be close to great universities and museums. The Exposition Park site is on the Expo line, near the city's core, while the San Francisco site is on Treasure Island, tricky to access.
Who knew? L.A. beat S.F. on public transit, urban authenticity, and intellectual credibility.
|George Herriman, "Krazy Kat" (1933)|
|N.C. Wyeth, "The Duel on the Beach" (1926), an illustration to Treasure Island|
|Cel of "Dumbo with the Magic Feather," Disney c. 1941|
L.A. has long drawn visitors who want to experience "Hollywood." They learn that actual Hollywood is disappointing and celebrity-free aside from costumed grifters demanding cash for selfies. Both new museums promise to be fun and informative and worthwhile. There ought to be plenty of visitors for both.
|Rendering of Ma Yansong's Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Exposition Park|
|Arthur Rackham, "Badger's Winter Stories"|
Rockwell-as-artist has defenders. I'm not one of them. I do think it's good for institutions to preserve Rockwell's work as a social document, alongside works by his peers.
But with Lucas paying Rembrandt money for Rockwells, it's a safe bet the Rockwells will be on permanent and reverential view, like the Rembrandts at the Getty.
|Norman Rockwell, "Saying Grace" (1951)|
|Winslow Homer, "Four Leaf Clover" (c. 1878)|
|Character make-up for "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas," 2000|
|Charles Shultz, "Peanuts" comic strip (1953, detail)|