Much of the great architecture in Los Angeles is hidden behind tall trees and long driveways. Great monuments of residential design have always been treated like any other piece of real estate, bought and sold and torn down as quickly as tract homes. House museums are few and far between and often run on shoestring budgets. What a thrill to hear that James Goldstein, the owner of the iconic Sheats-Goldstein house near Beverly Hills, has pledged his home to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art with an endowment to take care of it for years to come. The museum held a reception at the property last week to thank him for the promised gift of the John Lautner-designed house. “I’ve been working on this for years,” Goldstein told the crowd, filled with artists, architects, showbiz people, and museum donors. “LACMA is the perfect recipient.”
Glasses were clinked in a newly built nightclub wing under the tennis court with concrete walls and stainless steel floors. Guests mingled in front of larger than life images of Goldstein projected on one wall as a DJ spun next to an enormous photograph of the 70-something real estate tycoon who arrived decked out in his trademark cowboy hat, leather pants, and bedazzling.
I stopped to congratulate museum director Michael Govan as he jogged through the throng of well-wishers. “It’s so great that’s he’s leaving it to the world.”