two woman standing in front of an abstract artwork at an exhibition

Born in Paris and raised in New York, Laura de Gunzburg is a partner of the exclusive members art club The Cultivist, where she acts as the Global Senior Director and Head of Strategic Development. She is also the Founder and Chair of the Dia Art Foundation’s Contemporary Associates, as well as a Contributing Editor at Cultured Magazine and a Co-Chair at the CFDA Fashion Trust. We put her in our 6 Questions hot seat.

1. Did you always want a career in the art world?

I had no intention of pursuing it really, because it was my mother’s thing. She was involved with Dia Art Foundation and my parents collected art. I don’t think I ever really thought about what I wanted to do growing up. I was a professional equestrian and riding took up a big part of my life, the plan was to go to the Olympics. After getting hurt one year and not being able to ride, I started filling my time with other things that made me realise I had other passions. During my time at The University of Miami, I didn’t want to study art history at first, but then I ended up taking the class and started to fall in love with it. Later on, opportunities presented themselves within the art world.

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2. What are the benefits of joining The Cultivist?

If one is fortunate enough, one should become a member to be able to be presented with the right information and artworks. In the time we live in, we are pushed to consume so much information and it is hard to determine what is worth your time and what isn’t. A recognisable name is often what we gravitate towards, however, in the art world a name is sometimes not enough to ensure that the exhibition is worth one’s time.

series of printed graphic materials

An example of the welcome package sent to members of The Cultivist

At The Cultivist, we edit and streamline everything the world has to offer. We help facilitate on the member’s behalf by presenting them with the information we believe they can benefit from. There is nothing commercial at The Cultivist. We organise private visits and book amazing curators and speakers to come and speak to our members. The Cultivist currently has offices in London, Brussels, Los Angeles, New York and Shanghai. We can help our members from any of these cities and one does not have to travel to make use of the membership. In London alone, we have four events every month which can be anything from a collection visit to a private studio tour. For example, we have previously done a pottery class with a ceramic sculptor and a private tour of the Da Vinci collection with the Queen’s conservator at Buckingham Palace. In Los Angeles, we have organised a private visit with the image archive at the Getty Centre, where they pulled out photographs for the members to see.

3. What does a normal day in your life look like?

Every day is very different. A big part of my job is engaging with new and prospective members at The Cultivist. I also engage with existing members, work on new opportunities, see new exhibitions and speak with partners for future collaborations. I am based between New York and London, travelling between the two cities.

A hand holding a membership card in front of an artwork

The Cultivist organises private visits to exhibitions and museums for their members

4. What do you wish to see more of in the art world?

I long for people who would speak more about the experience rather than the value of an artist or an art piece. There is an extensive amount of eagerness in regards to being market-driven. Art can often be seen as unapproachable. I believe art should be more about the experience and less about the value.

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5. Who are your favourite artists at the moment?

In my personal collection, you can find Conrad Shawcross, Matt Connors, Louise Bourgeois and Sam Moyer. Another artist that I love is Wayne Thiebaud, he’s currently on my wish-list.

6. Where do you see yourself 10 years?

I see myself having my own business. The Cultivist will always be my baby as I am a partner of the company. However, I do want to build something of my own, something that stems from my own idea. I love connecting people and putting people together. That is what I am good at. I can see myself starting something related to that idea.

Follow Laura on Instagram: instagram.com/ldegunzburg

Interview by Andrea Stenslie