George Lucas,  Lucasfilm,  Original Saga,  Original Trilogy,  Prequel Trilogy

Lucas Museum of Narrative Art gives the Comic-Con crowd a sneak peek


From Los Angeles Times:

“Superheroes and big-name TV and film franchises dominate San Diego Comic-Con, but one discussion early Thursday sought to elevate the fan-driven bonanza with a look at different art: Curators from the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art hosted a morning panel that gave a peek at the holdings of the $1-billion project coming to L.A.’s Exposition Park.

A 30-minute slide presentation provided a brief snapshot of what will be in the museum — a collection, curators said, that will include the poetic paintings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the bright and rounded comic art of graphic novelist Chris Ware and the work of celebrated L.A. muralist Judy Baca. The pieces that generated oohs and ahhs from the San Diego audience, however, were of a more pop variety, namely those connected to the “Star Wars” franchise.

Would the museum, one fan asked, sell limited-edition “Star Wars” prints signed by George Lucas?

But how the gift shop will be populated wasn’t the focus of curators Erin M. Curtis, Anastasia James and Ryan Linkof, who instead sought to lay out the mission of the Lucas Museum. The building broke ground in March and will contain at least two restaurants, two theaters and 11 acres of green space, not to mention plenty of holdings from a galaxy far, far away.

Although the three repeatedly defined “narrative art” broadly as art that tells a story, what became clear during the presentation is that the museum will emphasize nonabstract illustrative works. The museum will seek to connect the comic books of today with early fantasy and sci-fi pulp art as well as creations from “ancient Egypt and classical Greek and Rome,” said Linkof, including a Roman floor mosaic that measures 10 feet by 10 feet. The museum, he said, will be a “mad dash through human history,” with one area dedicated to “world art before 1950.”

There will be a through-line, the curators stressed, even as Linkof presented a slide that showed an ancient Greek vase inscribed with a tale of the Pantheon, next to an altarpiece panel telling the story of the Virgin Mary, next to a comic book. “We’re attempting to eliminate the hierarchy between so-called high art and commercial art, placing them on the same plane,” he said. “While many museums pay lip service to this kind of inclusive appreciation of visual culture, we are truly unique and make this central to the museum’s identity.”

They’re ready for criticism.

“We recognize that this type of comparison, flattening distinctions of culture and context, might ruffle the feathers of many art historians and curators,” Linkof said.

Curtis aimed to show how the museum will seek to connect eras and styles. She presented a pair of works that reference Grant Wood’s stoic farmers of “American Gothic,” including “Black Gothic” by Kadir Nelson. Curtis said it’s among her favorite pieces in the collection. “This piece appeared on the cover of Ebony magazine, making it an interesting contemporary counterpoint to many of the illustrations in our collection, which were also disseminated through popular magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post and Life.”

Of course, the museum will also showcase plenty of sci-fi, fantasy and American Pop works, including those from Norman Saunders, Malcolm Smith and Jeffrey Catherine Jones, as well as an abundance of European and American children’s book illustrations.

“These pieces represent well-known nursery rhymes, fairy tales, stories and characters such as ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ and ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears,’” said Curtis. She showed a slide with selections from Jessie Willcox Smith, who she said was “was one of the most prolific women illustrating in the early 20th century and is well represented in our collection.”

The Lucas Museum will have art from Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are,” an original “Alice in Wonderland” piece from John Tenniel and several “Winnie the Pooh” originals from E.H. Shepard.

The museum also will trace the history of the comic book. Here, the collection will include political satirical cartoons — many from 18th century artist James Gillray — as well as an early strip of “Flash Gordon” from Alex Raymond.

“We also have a large selection of some of the most recognized characters in our history,” said James, noting the museum will have work from Charles M. Schulz, Jack Kirby, Neal Adams and Chris Ware’s “The Last Saturday.” Recently the Lucas Museum acquired art from Alison Bechdel’s 2006 graphic memoir “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.”

And yes, there will be plenty of props from Lucas films, including the “ark of the covenant” from “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” […]


[…] For Lucasfilm fans, there’s plenty of pieces from the company’s production archive that visitors can look forward to seeing in person. Here are five Lucasfilm-centric things we learned.

1. Get an up close, detailed look at the Death Star. For the first time, Star Warsfans will be able to see the screen-used model from 1983’s Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in person. “This model of the Death Star is really one of the most spectacular items in the archive and it really has to be seen in person. The model is a 3D object, approximately 6-feet-tall, created out of thin layers of brass that have been eroded with acid. It’s incredibly intricate and has never been shown before publicly,” curator Ryan Linkof told the crowd.

2. Ralph McQuarrie’s original concept art will be on display. The museum will be home to the legendary Ralph McQuarrie’s original concept art paintings from the classic trilogy. Curator Ryan Linkof showed off two well known pieces recognizable to fans: early 1975 production art depicting Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader, and a 1980 illustration depicting Luke and Yoda on Dagobah from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

3. See the beginnings of the saga. Original storyboards from Star Wars: A New Hope to Return of the Jedi will be on display as part of the museum’s cinema collection. At the panel, curators showed an early sketch drawn by artist Alex Tavoularis with the words “The Star Wars” visualized in the style of the new iconic opening crawl of the saga, created before the title was even fully determined.

4. Indiana Jones and Willow will be part of the museum’s collection. While much of the museum’s cinema collection draws from Star Wars, it will also have many items from the Indiana Jones franchise and Willow, as well. The panel showed off a photo of The Ark of the Covenant prop kept in the Lucasfilm production archive, revealing there are actually two versions of the iconic movie artifact, one more illustrious than the other, because they were used for different cinematic effect. Additionally, early Indiana Jones concept art by famed comic artist Jim Steranko was shown as another highlight that fans can look forward to seeing in person.

5. Lightsabers galore. Of course, there will be no shortage of lightsabers on display at the Lucas Museum. Curator Ryan Linkof told the panel audience, “a vast assortment of lightsabers from Episodes I-VI” will be part of the collection. The panelists showed off an image of Luke’s original lightsaber prop from A New Hope, in addition to an image highlighting nearly 40 different lightsabers kept in the museum’s archives. From Mace Windu to Darth Vader, there will be plenty of iconic Jedi weapons on view from throughout the saga’s history for fans.”

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