What I’m Buying and Why: Collector Carole Server on Her First Acquisition and the Challenge of Showing Installations in a New York Apartment

Top collectors share their strategies (and obsessions).

Carole Server. (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for Art Los Angeles Contemporary)

A version of this story originally appeared in the fall 2019 Artnet Intelligence Report.

Carole Server, the vice chair of the board of trustees at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, tells us which contemporary painter’s work she most covets and just how involved owning installation art can be.

What was the first acquisition you and your husband, Oliver Frankel, made?

A number of works at Art Basel: Hugo McCloud, Arjan Martins, and Richard Aldrich. We were very excited about a Pipilotti Rist video work. It does not require a video room or a private museum to display. It’s self-contained in a sculptural screen, and a 30-minute video loop plays behind the sculpture. Very cool.

What is the most expensive work of art that you own?

I’d prefer not to answer that.

Where do you buy art most frequently?

When we first started, we bought almost all our work at fairs. While we still buy at art fairs, now we’re buying more from gallery shows.

Dana Schutz, <i>Carpool</i> (2016). Courtesy of Carole Server.

Dana Schutz, Carpool (2016). Courtesy of Carole Server.

What work do you have hanging above your sofa?

Our sofa is freestanding, but currently on the main wall of our living room, we are living with an amazing Dana Schutz painting.

Do you have any artwork in your bathroom?

We have a work by Carol Bennett that we bought very early on. It’s hanging across from the mirrors, and I enjoy looking at it when I’m getting dressed.

What is the most impractical work of art you own?

A Kaari Upson three door installation piece… We were told when we bought it that, in one’s home, the work could be displayed in a smaller grouping. However, if you loan it for public viewing, the artist wants all three doors shown together. We live in an apartment, so installing something that requires that amount of space can really impact a room. We are going to try to put up the entire installation this fall.

Which artists do you wish you had collected when you had the chance?

John Currin and Derrick Adams.

If you could steal one work of art without getting caught, what would it be?

A big Nicole Eisenman painting. We have Nicole in the collection, but we only have small works. I lust after a substantial painting.

 

A version of this story originally appeared in the fall 2019 Artnet Intelligence Report. To download the full report, which has juicy details on the most bankable artists, a look at how the art market has changed over the past 30 years, and a deep dive into the shrinking business of auction guarantees, click here.


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