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Monday, May 19, 2014 11:29 am

George Lucas and the pizza king

One last thought on Chicago and the George Lucas Cultural Arts Museum. The man Lucas most reminds me of is Tom Monaghan, the former Domino’s pizza magnate. You might recall Monaghan as the man who for a time threatened to corner the market on everything Frank Lloyd Wright. For example, in 1987 it took a personal plea from then-Gov. James Thompson to dissuade Monaghan from buying several important pieces of Dana-Thomas House furniture out from under the State of Illinois’ nose.

Both men are rich, eccentric and vainglorious.  (One of Monaghan’s projects is a new conservative Catholic university founded in an office park; as originally proposed, it would have boasted a 250-foot-tall crucifix.) Monaghan’s passion for Wright is as real as Lucas’s for Rockwell, but enthusiasm is not expertise; even less is it judgment. Lucas might not have a tutored eye for fine art, but to his credit he appreciates the art he has collected as art and not as trophies, which Monaghan sometimes seemed to.
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