SFMOMA’s Bay Area Treasure

Filmmaker George Lucas is the 14th recipient of SFMOMA‘s Bay Area Treasure Award. The award was presented to Lucas at a benefit dinner chaired by Jacqueline Sacks, at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco, on October 24, 2013. Lucas’s influence helped make the Bay Area a center for innovation in film and animation. His visionary work as a pioneer of visual effects and an inventor of new forms of storytelling has redefined the language of cinema in our age.

The celebratory evening in his honor began with a benefactor reception and introduction to Lucas from his biographer J.W. Rinzler. Next, guests sat down for dinner and an onstage conversation between Lucas, Rudolf Frieling, SFMOMA Curator of Media Arts, and Dominic Willsdon, SFMOMA Curator of Education and Public Programs.

Throughout the discussion, Lucas attributed his success to technology and to living in the Bay Area. “Art is technology. How can you express yourself without technology? Even the cavemen could not create stories on the walls until technology made it possible.” Lucas continued, “I was able to do what I wanted because I was in San Francisco … We thought, hey, we’re up here, they’ll never know what we are doing. And the studios hated it.”

Scenes from the SFMOMA Bay Area Treasure Award Dinner honoring George Lucas:

Photos by Drew Altizer Photography

Organized in 1999 by SFMOMA’s Modern Art Council, the Bay Area Treasure Award presentation and dinner recognizes Bay Area artists and cultural leaders who continually redefine the field of visual art. Each year the museum celebrates one recipient with this lifetime-achievement award. Nominees from museum leadership across the organization are considered; the final decision is made by SFMOMA’s director. Previous award recipients include media artist Jim Campbell; painters Robert Bechtel, Manuel Neri, Nathan Oliveira, Wayne Thiebaud and William T. Wiley; sculptors Richard Serra and Mark di Suvero; sound artist Bill Fontana; industrial designer Sara Little Turnbull; architect Lawrence Halperin; and photographers Ruth Bernhard and Larry Sultan.

— Related — Red Carpet Bay Area coverage of past Bay Area Treasure award events: