Where Is the Lucas Collection Going?
|Genevieve Gaignard, Trav'lin Light, 2020. Lucas Museum of Narrative Art
The sentiment above is boilerplate for directors of big, serious art museums in 2020. The notable thing is that it was said by Sandra Jackson-Dumont, director of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (as quoted in a recent ArtNews piece). The partly lowbrow Lucas might seem to have a free pass in the audience engagement department, given a fanbase for whom Baby Yoda on a pedestal is all too creepily relevant. Says Jackson-Dumont: "I like to say that someone may come for Star Wars but leave loving Kara Walker."
That's the Lucas puzzle: how to combine kitsch and seriousness. Curators are actively expanding George Lucas' personal collection, which centers on 20th-century magazine illustration and film memorabilia. Almost nothing Lucas bought was "real art." Many of the newer acquisitions are, focusing on socially engaged contemporary works, often by women and artists of color. That provides some balance to the Norman Rockwell demographic, who won't be around forever. Some of the contemporary pieces, such as the Genevieve Gaignard above, truly do tell a story. On the other hand, there are also nonobjective works like Roxy Paine's sculpture, S2-P2-MAR1. Jackson-Dumont says, "almost every artist we can think of has some history with the narrative form—even within abstraction there is narrative form in many cases.… The definition is something that we feel can expand and contract."
If everything is narrative art, then the term doesn't mean anything. Maybe what's lacking in the Lucas mission statement is a clear statement of what they don't intend to collect or show.
SEE ALSO: HOW'S THAT NARRATIVE ART THING COMING?
|Roxy Paine, S2-P2-MAR1, 2011. Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. (c) Roxy Paine