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For Los Angeles–based art collector Troy Carter, the local community is the primary investment. The former global head of Spotify and founder of Atom Factory is a trustee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and a veteran advisory board member of Mark Bradford’s nonprofit exhibition space and youth outreach Art + Practice in Los Angeles’s Leimert Park neighborhood. Carter recently joined the board of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and according to a recent interview with Frieze magazine, he excused himself from his first board meeting to speak with a crowd of CalArt students protesting tuition prices on campus.
“I became fascinated with the entire art ecosystem, the things I love and the things I hate, the things that are broken, what the future looks like—I go so deep that I go all in,” he once said.
Carter emerged as a collector to watch when he dropped $730,000 on an oversized canvas by Rashid Johnson, titled Untitled Escape Collage, at the Aspen Art Museum’s 2018 ArtCrush gala. The painting joined a collection which today includes pieces by Glenn Ligon, Sam Gilliam, Charles Gaines, Lorna Simpson, Theaster Gates, and Lauren Halsey. He prefers to make his deals in the artist’s studio, and counts Gates and Halsey as friends.
“Coming from music and having spent my entire life with music artists I have a real understanding of the process,” he told ARTnews in 2019. “Going to the studio of fine artists is like when I find out the thoughts of a songwriter behind certain lyrics, the intent.”