“When I started buying art, I never thought that this was going to turn into what it turned into” -Adam Sender
Thanks to being a skilled hedge fund manager Adam Sender, now in his mid forties, was able to begin buying art at a young age, starting in 1998. It wasn’t long before he left Steve Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisers LP to become the founder and chief executive officer of Exis Capital Management Inc. Today Sender has amassed a library of over a thousand interestingly various works of art by more than 140 different artists, each with their own unique style. He takes varying styles and combine them in a way that makes them seem to naturally fit together as if pieces of a story that need to come together to form a whole. “When you speak about this collection, you have to talk about how kaleidoscopic it is,” said Gabriela Palmieri, who is a senior specialist in the Contemporary Art department at Sotheby’s where Sender is currently selling a portion of his collection, “You really see the intellectual curiosity of the person behind it.” While it is apparent that Sender appreciates sexuality, it is also clear that he appeals
to the spontaneous and risqué as well. Sarah Lucas, Charles Ray, Cindy Sherman, John Currin, and Richard Price whose “Spirited America” hung in a children’s wash-room during his 2011 show in Miami Home Alone. The Home Alone collection was exhibited in one of Sender’s homes, not even leaving closets unfilled, during the Art Basel Miami Beach annual art fair. It was said that the idea behind the collection was to make it seem as if the house had become so overrun with art that it has cause the residents to just pick-up and go, leaving the art home alone. “You go to collection visits in homes, but when have you ever seen a show that has taken over a residence? It seemed like an interesting angle” said Sender’s private curator Sarah Aibel, who had been working with him since 2006, she had also mentioned, “My thought process at first was, I was fighting against the idea that this was a residential space. I wanted to turn it into a white box. But it’s a residential space. Period. So I wanted to use that to its advantage.” Abiel and Adam Sender have both commented on how it’s a shame to have so much of Sender’s library “hidden away” in storage, the event was quite exciting for everyone and allowed some of these paintings to get the attention that they deserve.
Sender began to draw attention in 2003 at Matthew Barney’s art show at the Guggenheim Museum, the chief curator Lisa Dennison had described him as adventurous. “He collected Barney in depth, which was really adventurous then,” said Dennison, “Adam saw that Barney invented a new language of art, and he used that as a barometer for what he collected afterwards. Adam always looked at whole bodies of work, and in-depth. He was ahead of his time.” The attention kept climbing as he began loaning works in his collection with museums and other exhibitions; the Jewish Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New Museum in New York, and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris are a few places he’s loaned to. Sender regularly sells works he owns as well as donates some. “He created an interesting and provocative website that you can enter to make your case for a loan,” said Lisa Dennison, “It became a great and important lending library.”
The passion Sender has for art was able to grow and expand into what it is today due to his trading. “Collecting is a long-term process and it’s very different from what I do all day,” said Sender, “which is trading. It’s the yin and yang.” Despite his company’s great success, with a 15 percent gain in 2008 with no declines in the years after, in 2014 Sender decided to sell his company and focus entirely on his art library, commenting how “All things must pass.” With a particular eye that can pick out the best artworks immediately in a bunch, “kind of [like] lazer vision” as Sarah Aibel put it, Sender has been able to amount his vast collection and help newer artists, as well as more seasoned artists, become recognized. He commented how he doesn’t buy from artists who are still in school or a single year into their career, he likes to wait a couple of years to let them find their-self, “I’m not a chaser. I’m a pursuer of great works by artists who have had long careers.”
Although raised Jewish Sender is finding himself embarrassing Buddhist philosophy. Sender’s library and the way he compiles his collections reflect his own creative mind, it’s way of trying to communicate. Aibel once commented how a private collection can often reflect the collector’s own thought process and taste. “For me it was really important that the works were intellectually stimulating, and they had to be visually appealing as well,” said Sender, “Every single thing I bought, I was passionate about. It grew organically.” His library contains the diverse mix of works by Wangechi Mutu, Barbra Kruger, Raymond Pettibonm Banks Violette, Charles Ray, Mike Kelley, Rosemarie Trockel, Jim Lambie, Diana Al-Hadid, Frank Benson, Chris Ofili, Rashid Johnson, John Baldessari, Gilbert & George, Dan Flavin, Lawrence Weiner, Keith Harring, and many more. Sender now enters a new chapter of his life which he is happy to be lucky enough to live in company with many works of art.