Lonely Planet Writer

Big Lebowski home donated to LA art museum

An impressive home featured in the cult film The Big Lebowski will be donated to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) on the death of its millionaire owner.

Investor James Goldstein has promised his John Lautner-designed home, its contents, and the surrounding estate to LACMA. [The James Goldstein House, designed by John Lautner, photo © Jeff Green]
Investor James Goldstein has promised his John Lautner-designed home, its contents, and the surrounding estate to LACMA. [The James Goldstein House, designed by John Lautner, photo © Jeff Green] Image by Los Angeles County Museum of Art Instagram
The home, which was designed by famed architect John Lautner, has been donated by James Goldstein, a “fashion and basketball aficionado”, to the LACMA, according to a news release.

While designed by a famous architect who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright, most people know the structure after it was featured in the Coen brothers’ film as the home of the character Jackie Treehorn, where The Dude attends a beach party.

Its eccentric current owner, best known for sitting courtside at NBA games decked out in leather, has donated the home, its contents, and the surrounding estate to the museum – which includes a “Turrell Skyspace in its extensive landscaped tropical gardens, an infinity tennis court, and an entertainment complex”. As Goldstein is also known for his involvement in the fashion and architecture world, his “extensive fashion collection, works by artists including Ed Ruscha, DeWain Valentine, Bernar Venet, and Kenny Scharf, architectural models of the property, and an iconic Rolls Royce Silver Cloud from 1961 are included in the gift”.

The Dude, from the film The Big Lebowski, inside the home James Goldstein has donated to a Los Angeles museum.
The Dude, from the film The Big Lebowski, inside the home James Goldstein has donated to a Los Angeles museum. Image by The Big Lebowski

The home will not be donated until the death of Goldstein, but in the meantime will be used for some cultural and educational events held by the museum “that engage the house as the work of art it is”.

Goldstein said he wants his gift to “serve as a catalyst to encourage others to do the same to preserve and keep alive Los Angeles’s architectural gems for future generations”.

But for Lebowski fans less interested in visiting the film’s architecture and more interested in celebrating The Dude with a White Russian in hand, a trip to rural Iowa may be a safer bet.

Last week, a Big Lebowski-themed restaurant, called Lebowski’s Bar & Grill, opened in the town of Robins – a small community with about 3,200 people located north of Cedar Rapids. The entrance to the restaurant has a rug that is a replica of the one from the film and a Lebowski-themed menu – and it is the town’s only restaurant, reports the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.

Other restaurants themed after the cult classic can be found in San Antonia, Texas and Reykjavik, Iceland.