Adam Sender is a collector of contemporary art whose discerning judgment and knack for predicting the future have put him on track to be one of the most interesting collectors around. He has a knack for picking out diamonds in the rough: young artists hovering at the very beginning of a long and productive career.
One of the keys to Sender’s rise is surely his networking skill. He engages with the contemporary art scene as a living place full not just of works to collect but of actual human beings. By all accounts he has a particular rapport with female artists and his collections include a sizable proportion of pieces by women artists including Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger, Mickalene Thomas, and Sarah Lucas.
Some art collectors keep a tight, almost jealous hold on their collections. Sender, instead, makes a point of sharing his with the world. Of course from time to time he sells pieces, often in large numbers and for impressive profits. For instance Sender set five price records during a recent auction at Sotheby’s. But in addition to sales he also makes a habit of lending out pieces to major museums and exhibitions. In fact he has created a website for the purpose: people are encouraged to engage with the collector and make their case for why he should lend his pieces to them.
Given his origins as a hedge fund manager, one might think that Sender began by got into art collecting as a financial opportunity. But he has a real passion for art and he asserts that at the beginning he never expected his collection to take off to such a dazzling extent. He said that from the outset, “Every single thing I bought, I was passionate about. It grew organically.”
And grow it did. Sender’s complete collection of over 1,000 pieces is estimated to be worth over $100 million. In addition to selling and lending he has also made forays into the world of exhibitions. In 2011 he staged his first private exhibition from the collection in one of his private residences in Miami. The exhibition, entitled “Home Alone,” showcased 85 pieces selected from the full collection. In the exhibition he focused not only on showing the art but on using the space to its full potential, distributing the pieces throughout the house in creative ways. Clearly that creativity has served him well throughout his career and will keep him at the forefront of the collecting world in the future.