“Let’s Just Say That While Everyone Was Wearing Pink Shirts at the Time, I Took It One Step Further and Got a Pink Suit”

by Amy Marie Slocum

James Goldstein announces the bequeathment of this Lautner-designed home to LACMA
I'm in a van winding it's way down a lushly landscaped drive towards James Goldstein's rightly celebrated and highly fabled home. It's raining. The day before, we are informed—an unusually warm February day—Maria Sharapova had been enjoying slinging some balls on the infinity tennis court, a term that didn't exist before James Goldstein decided he wanted one. These are the stories that are told about the man and his house.

That house—designed by starchitect James Lautner in the '60s and bought by Goldstein in 1972—rests on a precipice of Beverly Hills overlooking the Los Angeles basin. One of the most iconic examples of Lautner's signature Organic Architecture style, Goldstein worked with Lautner closely on the house until the architect's death in 1994, after which he hired two younger architects to finish the job. A movie theater, a night club (called Club James), offices with sweeping views, and of course the Turrell skyscape, "Above Horizon," are just a few of the additions that Goldstein has instigated and overseen in his stewardship of the place.

I've been invited here along with 20-30 other members of the press to tour the Sheats Goldstein Residence on the occasion of the announcement of it's bequeathment to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Goldstein is standing outside next to the pool chatting with LACMA director Michael Govan, who is justifiably giddy. While some people may be a little uncomfortable with having droves of reporters crawling around their home, Goldstein is perfectly at ease, he has been opening up his home to photographers, filmmakers, and the like since he acquired the house. Most notably used in the film The Big Lebowski (1998), the Sheats Goldstein has been the setting for numerous fashion shoots (for this publication among many others) and music videos.

The announcement of a bequeathment is an odd ceremony. I ask whether LACMA plans on opening the house up to the public on certain days like an extension of the museum, forgetting that those plans are likely yet to be made. One thing is certain: Goldstein has no plans to slow down any time soon.

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