All that glitters is goldstein! a masterpiece of L.A. Architecture (and all its contents) is left to LACMA.
Jimmy Goldstein, a more ubiquitous presence court-side at Staples Center than Uncle Jack himself (and more easily spotted, thanks to his penchant for leather pants and snakeskin hats), hosts fashion fêtes and art soirées at his legendary digs perched high above Beverly Crest. Goldstein’s remarkable collection of contemporary art includes Ed Ruscha’s acrylic painting Gower, Beachwood, Franklin, 1998.
At his 80th birthday party, the late Los Angeles architect John Lautner was asked what he might do to improve the city’s architecture. He’d create an enormous concrete ball, he said, take it up on Mulholland Drive, and roll it down the hill.
What he may have wished spared: a 1963 Benedict Canyon home generally considered to be his masterpiece. Known as the Sheats Goldstein Residence—a nod to its legendary owner of 44 years, Jimmy Goldstein—the home has long been an emblem of the height of mid-century California architecture. And now, as a bequest from Goldstein to LACMA, its preservation has been ensured.
It is the museum’s first gift of architecture and one that includes an endowment for maintenance of the home and its contents. And what contents. Aside from the interiors and furniture specially designed by Lautner, a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright, Goldstein’s art collection includes works by LA’s Pop Art golden boy, Ed Ruscha, as well as DeWain Valentine, Bernar Venet, and Kenny Scharf, plus a seminal James Turrell Skyspace, Above Horizon, which was custom-created for the property. Other contents contained in the gift are Goldstein’s cream-white 1961 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud (the only car he’s owned for the past 46 years) and his collection of hundreds of exotic designer boots, jackets, and signature hats.
“I view the home itself as a work of art,” says Goldstein, seventy-something, who adds that LACMA understands its importance and history—all the better to use it as an educational tool. “By opening the house up to the public and to architecture students, I [hope to] provide an inspiration to create great architecture in Los Angeles, which I think it really needs.”
“Placing the house in our collection so prominently will help encourage others to think about architecture in the same way they might think about art,” agrees LACMA’s director, Michael Govan. “That is, it should be cared for as part of our artistic culture and be accessible for future generations.” From the great beyond, Lautner is surely nodding in agreement.