Chicago Luminaries Publicly Support Lucas Museum… Now That it’s Gone

Lucas museum disappearing into the distance

The Lucas Museum… slipping into the distance.  Fortunately, there a Photoshop filter for that.

As George Lucas, his museum, and a $700 million investment in the city of Chicago slip into the distance, two groups of prominent Chicagoans are publicly voicing support for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

Where were they six months ago?

In separate letters to the editor of the city’s largest newspaper, the heads of ten top Chicago museums, and the board of the Chicago Architecture Foundation all pledged their public support for Mr. Lucas’ endeavor.  Among those putting their weight behind the words were Gordon Gill of AS+GG, Phil Enquist of SOM, Bridget Coughlin of the Shedd Aquarium, and Richard Lariviere of the Field Museum.

So we ask again… Where were they six months ago?

As far as anyone is concerned, the Lucas Museum is gone.  History.  Faded off into the sunset.  Even Curbed declared May the fourth the day the museum died.  Why come out now in support of something that’s already nothing?

Los Angeles skyline

This wouldn’t be the first time in recent years that a billionaire opened a museum in Los Angeles and the city embraced it.

This is symptomatic of what happens when a city’s institutions become disconnected from the city.  When its museums consider themselves oh so philanthropic for giving free passes to the library that are exactly zero sacrifice for the institutions and that nobody can use because they’re always checked out anyway.  Or when architects pat themselves on the back for building an igloo out of canned corn instead of going down to Catholic Charities and actually peeling some potatoes, mopping up some vomit, or bussing some trays for the homeless.  You know — stuff that actually makes a difference.

All of the groups and people involved in the recent letter-writing campaign to the Sun-Times have at least at much smarts, and likely more disposable income to waste on lawyers, as Friends of the Parks does.  Why chime in when it’s too little, too late?

Perhaps they’re smarter than us average bears, and know that there is still plenty of time to turn things around.  That Mellody Hobson’s threat to pack up the MAD creation and leave for another city was just a threat, and that after some warm milk and a neck rub she feels better about the whole thing.

We’re not lawyers, but if the mayor’s Hail Mary trying to throw this into an appellate court is successful, it would be a good opportunity to file a friend-of-the-court brief or take other concrete actions that might actually result in… results.

As always, dissenting opinions are welcome in the comment box below.

Location: 1559 South Lake Shore Drive, South Loop

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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