Beginning tomorrow, the Presidio Trust is going to be letting the public weigh in on whether billionaire George Lucas can build a museum to house his collection of illustrations and graphic art in the Presidio, but boy he's already pissed at them for throwing up obstacles in his path and making fun of his architectural taste.
Lucas has been pushing for several years to get to build the thing, ever since the Fishers backed out of building their own art museum in the Presidio in 2009. The property now in question is currently home to the Sports Basement next to Crissy Field, and it's been slated for a cultural use. Three proposals landed in the Presidio Trust's office are now online for public comment.
- Lucas's $700 million project, The Lucas Cultural Arts Museum, endorsed by Mayor Ed Lee, which includes digital art, as well as its "20th century antecedent... the sprawling collection of book and magazine illustrations he has assembled over four decades [including] works by Maxfield Parrish, Norman Rockwell and other leading figures from America’s golden age of illustration." The building is in a Beaux Arts style and would face the Bay, and would be funded by Lucas's own money.
- The Bridge/Sustainability Institute, an arguably convoluted concept from a group of architects that would focus on the issue of sustainability as it affects our lives. It's billed as a new type of public institution that would "bring people together to collaborate, learn, discover, invent and dream... [and a place] for our poets to talk to our scientists, our activists to our CEOs, our friends and neighbors to each other."
- The Presidio Exchange - a combination cultural venue, museum, and public gathering space with a restaurant component.
Lucas, of course, went right to the NYT with his grievances and dismisses the other two proposals as "a jar of jargon." One point he does make is that he's fronting a ton of money for his proposal, while these other two would have to engage in fundraising something that may be made difficult by the fact that they are less clear concepts than his.
He's bitter in part because Presidio chairwoman Nancy H. Bechtle criticized the design of his museum as being a "recycled" older style, and clearly not as hip and contemporary as the other two. David Perry, a spokesperson for Lucas, admits, "George loves domes."
And, Lucas says, if the Presidio and the S.F. public give him any more crap and end up nixing the idea, he's going to be welcomed with open arms by "Rahm" in Chicago, which is the home of his new wife and his new part-time home.
It's unclear when and how the public can comment, but there should be a public meeting coming up here one of these days and we'll let you know. Otherwise, you can email your opinions here.
Update: Our bad: The info about public participation is here. There are two upcoming opportunities to get involved. The first is next week, September 23, when the teams will do public presentations of their proposals and take questions from the public. That's at 6:30 pm at Herbst in the Presidio, 385 Moraga Avenue, on the Main Post. Then on October 24 there's a meeting of the Trust at which public comment can be made.