'The Big Lebowski' Porn House Will Become an Art Space

The James Goldstein House, designed by John Lautner, photo © Jeff Green

I’m a Lebowski, you’re a Lebowski, and now the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is a Lebowski, too. LACMA just announced its receipt of an endowment for the Sheats Goldstein Residence, better known as the palatial residence of smut peddler Jackie Treehorn in the Coen Brothers’ The Big Lebowski. While the John Lautner-designed home, which was built in 1963 for Helen and Paul Sheats, has become iconic for playing host to a scene between The Dude and Jackie Treehorn, it’s also quite notable for being an ever-evolving piece of architecture.

Wealthy basketball aficionado James Goldstein purchased the house back in 1971, then brought Lautner, a Frank Lloyd Wright disciple, back to rebuild and adapt the house according to their ultimate vision. According to LACMA, Goldstein and Lautner wanted to “blur the line between the indoor and outdoor to collaborating on custom-built minimalist furniture made of concrete, wood, and glass.”

 

The James Goldstein House, designed by John Lautner, photo © Tom Ferguson Photography

The house even features a skyspace designed by light and space artist James Turrell. Called Above Horizon, the space is located deep in the property’s tropical gardens, and links to major works by Turrell in LACMA’s permanent collection—the Ganzfeld Breathing Light and the Light Reignfall perceptual cell. Goldstein and Turrell collaborated on Above Horizon over four years, completing the project in 2004. Goldstein has also been completing an entertainment complex on the property, which was inspired by the main residence and designed by Duncan Nicholson, an architect hired by Lautner before his death in 1994.

Michael Govan, LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director, says that LACMA will program occasional events in the short term that engage the house as “the work of art it is.”

The James Goldstein House, designed by John Lautner, photo © Tom Ferguson Photography

“In addition to cultural and educational programming, which we hope will connect a broad public to this masterwork and significant piece of Los Angeles’s cultural patrimony, we are also inspired by the eclectic spirit of Mr. Goldstein, who uniquely brings together the worlds of fashion, architecture, and sports,” Govan adds. “We look forward to presenting events that will bring art and architecture to new audiences in exciting ways. We would always maintain and provide regular tours of the house, grounds, and artwork for the public, scholars, and architecture students.”

“We hope to work and collaborate in the short and long term with other arts institutions on events, performances, and other initiatives,” he adds.

 

The James Goldstein House, designed by John Lautner, photo © Tom Ferguson Photography

The James Goldstein House, designed by John Lautner, photo © Jeff Green

 

The James Goldstein House, designed by John Lautner, photo © Tom Ferguson Photography

 

The James Goldstein House, designed by John Lautner, photo © Tom Ferguson Photography

Click here to visit LACMA's website. 

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