It looks like financier, art collector and entrepreneur Adam Sender has new plans for setting the world on fire. After founding and running Wall Street hedge fund firm Exis Capital Management Inc. for over 15 years, Sender’s next step is moving over 400 pieces from his collection at auction.
Sender’s decision to put an end to his corporation hasn’t necessarily shocked the world of finance. The firm saw its fund lose 5.1 percent in 2014, and its peak management of more than $1 billion in funds had fallen to only $75 million by the end of the same year. On top of that, Exis is one of several hedge funds to have announced their shuttering, among them Scout Capital Management LLC and Joho Capital LLC.
Even as he was managing billions, Sender was known as much for his contemporary art collection as anything on Wall Street. Sender has been lauded for his strategic acquisitions throughout the art world. Critics, artists and admirers alike have called his collection intelligent, personal, surprising, rich, engaging and coherent. Sender has always managed to amass works from artists that are on the cusp of fame, including Keith Haring, Dan Flavin, Richard Prince and Cindy Sherman, as well as promising newcomers such as Rashid Johnson and Lucien Smith. The diversity and depth found in Sender’s collection has created a library of material that is considered a treasure drove of desired pieces. It’s expected the upcoming auction will bring in everyone from the curious to the mega-collector.
Former Guggenheim chief curator and current Sotheby’s Chairman of the Americas, Lisa Dennison, believes Sender has a stunning eye for recognizing talent and potential. She attests that he has a “barometer” for it and that Sender has always “looked at whole bodies of work, and in-depth. He was ahead of his time.”
Though he is selling over 400 pieces – many considered to be worth millions by themselves alone – Sender has no intention of giving up on collecting art. He will still have a significant collection even after the auction and he plans to continue exploring the galleries for new works. “This was always long-term in nature for me,” he has said. “Every single thing I bought, I was passionate about.”
Future plans include continuing to loan works for exhibition in museums and to donate major works to institutions. “When I started buying art, I never thought that this was going to turn into what it turned into.” What “it” has turned into is a smart picture of how contemporary art has progressed over three decades. And as the savvy art follower knows, wherever Sender goes, it will be a barometer of how art will trend over the next few decades.