Todd Oldham, Tony Longoria, and their dog Eve batten down in a Wall Street rental, in what Todd describes as “our holding pen till we move into another space.” But no matter how temporary their space may be, their art collection follows them everywhere.
Todd Oldham is famous for his talent as a designer, creative director, book author, and photographer, but he also has an almost mystical radar for unearthing talent, which you discover entering his art-clad apartment that he shares with Tony Longoria and their dog Eve. Case in point: the wood sculptures of Lucia Stern, featured here in their living room, in the foreground, center. “She’s a great mystery to me,” Todd says. “But I found her archive in Los Angeles after I saw a few pieces at the Melrose Swap Meet and just couldn’t believe them. She was actually a major artist at one point, connected to the Guggenheim. I have made eight trips to Los Angeles to go through the archives. There are over 400 pieces.”
The entrance to the apartment bypasses the open kitchen, festooned with art that includes a towering construction of vintage glass by Corbett Reynolds in front of Eve’s dog bowls. “This duck painting is amazing,” Todd says, pointing to the painting on the floor. “That came from a thrift store in New Mexico, but it looks like Walt Disney.” There is a promotional photo of Jerry Lewis on top of the cabinets flanked by two Weegee photographs. The countertop display includes “our aquarium supplies that I got at the California Science Museum because they did a collaboration where they did replicas of all these species.”
“I have a gardening approach to interior design, where it’s never finished.” Todd says. “It’s what it looks like that day, and then it might look different the next. But that is why I have shelves everywhere, as many as possible. The shelves allow for proximity to be an issue, and I like that, whether it’s flights of folly or just the obvious stuff. I don’t have a problem with mixing all the mediums; I think it looks really nice together.” There is a Grey Gardens movie poster signed by Albert Maysles, a Megan Whitmarsh painting, and a wood sculpture of a standing, gorillalike man. “A sculpture we have been very fond of that we got in a thrift store years ago,” Todd says. “We know it’s by Terry because it’s carved in the back.”
A bureau top features a photograph autographed to Todd from Sid and Marty Krofft, and two Iranian trivets that Todd has had since he was a child, when his family lived in Iran. The ceramic construction of animals and a baby figure is by Todd’s mother, Linda Oldham.
Eve’s dog bed is nestled in front of a collection of Lucia Stern wood sculptures and two photographs by Ed Ruscha, above. “It’s from the Sunset Series,” Todd says. “He did an interesting thing: He brought these negatives back out and upbraided them, fucked them up, and reprinted them, the scratched negatives, in the ‘90s.”
A Jerri Blank wig from the TV show Strangers With Candy sits on top of the bookshelf in front of two Wayne White paintings.
The wall above the bed is covered in Diane Arbus photographs — or, as Todd refers to it, “The Diane Arbus headboard. We put it up and we thought, It’s the most depressing headboard you could ever … I mean, thank God we’ve been together so long, can you imagine if you were bringing someone home …” Eve is not bothered by it at all.
The bedroom contains two extraordinary pieces. “This is one of my favorites. This is Cindy Sherman when she was 13 years old,” Todd says of the small photo on the right of what appears to be two older women. “She and her friend were convinced that everyone in the neighborhood thought they were old ladies, so she gave that to me for Christmas a few years ago.” The photograph of Sharon Tate above the Cindy Sherman picture was taken by Roman Polanski during a shoot Tate was doing for Playboy magazine. It was discovered on an undeveloped roll of film taken from Polanski’s house by the police after her murder.
The collection in the library includes works by Ryan McGinness, Lulu White, Charley Harper, Wayne White, Joe Holtzman, and that green pair of shoes on top of the bookcase was purchased at the estate sale of Gloria Swanson. “A bunch of us got together and bought a lot of her shoes and divided them up so we have three pairs. They are Taj Tajeries.” Todd says. I Googled this immediately to learn that Taj of India, as Taj Tajerie was also known, did the shoes for Jeannie in the TV show I Dream of Jeannie.
It’s fair to say that every single square foot of Todd and Tony’s apartment is covered in art. “This house is seriously overstuffed.” Todd says, “but it doesn’t feel like it. I mean, it doesn’t make me want to run out. It doesn’t feel oppressive.” What does he look for when he is out and about? “I don’t know,” he muses, “I’m not locked in to what it is, but it has to be magical to some degree.” The column is even dressed with photos including a Cindy Sherman.