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The Cultivist’s Guide To Digital Art Experiences

The Cultivist is the world’s only global arts club offering uniquely privileged access to every aspect of the art world.

Founded by Marlies Verhoeven and Daisy Peat (formerly of Sotheby’s Preferred VIP), The Cultivist’s latest turn sees the launch of a new digital art programme, which allows members to attend everything from studio visits to museum exhibitions – all from the comfort of your home.

Guiding us through an art month like none we’ve encountered, The Cultivist take us from sofa to showroom (digitally speaking).


Autumn is ordinarily a very busy time for the art world. Which fairs can we still explore digitally this season?

Many fairs are offering digital versions this year. They even come with VIP previews to build a sense of urgency for collectors. They are often paired with virtual panel discussions and a few in-person activations – Frieze London, for example, is continuing their outdoor sculpture installation in Regent’s Park. One outlier is 1:54 African Art Fair – they will be moving forward with an in-person fair using a system of timed tickets at limited capacity. Maybe it will inspire other fair organisers?

Online viewing rooms have become incredibly popular; what are some must-sees this fall?

The Frieze platform is very intuitive. Art Basel is offering an incredible selection from their blockbuster galleries. One we’re eagerly anticipating is Art Jakarta. They are the first fair to offer a true virtual experience – your personal avatar can navigate the fair as if you were there in person.

Manal AlDowayan, Now You See Me, Now You Don’t, installation view at Desert X AlUla. Photo by Lance Gerber, courtesy of the artist, RCU, and Desert X

Manal AlDowayan, Now You See Me, Now You Don’t, installation view at Desert X AlUla. Photo by Lance Gerber, courtesy of the artist, RCU, and Desert X

The Cultivist has put together a new suite of digital programmes; what can new and existing members look forward to?

We returned to in-person events in many of our chapter cities including New York, London and Paris. But, our virtual events have been immensely popular and we will continue to offer them for the foreseeable future. They include weekly studio visits, conversations with collectors and museum exhibition previews. We’ve virtually travelled to Palazzos in Venice, sculpture parks in the South of France and collector homes in Mexico.

We also offer Cultivist Academy classes on demand with topics from ‘Mexican Muralism’ to ‘Renaissance Masters’ and ‘Collecting on a Budget’.

Tell us more about some of your upcoming Cultivist Virtual events…

Our upcoming virtual events include an exclusive tour of the Christo and Jean-Claude exhibit at Centre Pompidou, a studio visit with American artist Robert Pruitt and a virtual screening of a Klint documentary.

Rijksmuseum the night watch | Pieter Roelofs at the Rijkmuseum in front of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. Courtesy of the Rijkmuseum

The best museum tours to take online…

We couldn’t get enough of the interactive Night Watch at the Rijksmuseum – it allows you to explore the detailed scenes inside this famous Rembrandt painting. Google Arts & Culture allows anyone to explore museums across the globe. And for anyone with children to entertain, Tate Kids has lots of fun art activities.

The Apps no art enthusiast should be without…

The Cultivist! We launched our web app last year and it offers a wealth of insider tips and city guides – and hundreds of reviews from fellow members.

What kind of classes can we sign up for via Cultivist Academy?

Whether you’re interested in old masters or emerging contemporary artists, there is an Cultivist Academy class for everyone. We have had classes on contemporary women artists of Saudi Arabia, Donald Judd’s relationship with Minimalism, Renaissance gossip and even a graffiti class for kids.

Courtesy of The Cultivist

Five virtual experiences to check out on Instagram/ online…

1) Rijksmuseum’s night watch
2) Art Jakarta (not a museum but the first truly VR based art fair)
3) 360-views of the Vatican’s most popular spaces
4) Hermitage Museum
5) Any of the museums on Google Culture

VOMA, the world’s first entirely virtual art museum has just opened. First impressions?

It’s just one example of ingenuity during a time of hardship. We are so impressed with the VOMA platform and hope it will come to IOS soon so that we can visit straight from our couch.

Donald Judd’s studio in Marfa, Texas. Photo: Elizabeth Felicella/Esto

How might this digital interlude impact museums – from international collection loans to footfall and exhibition types – in the future?

Tourism is down, blockbuster shows are delayed until 2021 and access is more complex. Visitorship is at an all-time low. Museums need our support now more than ever. The good news? The experience has gotten more magical – imagine walking The Met when its grand halls are empty! In the long run, people will spend more time on things that matter. Art feeds your soul, and museums will survive.

What should collectors and gallerists know about the digital sphere?

Although nothing compares to the feeling of viewing an artwork in-person, there are endless possibilities for art in the digital sphere. Collectors and gallerists alike should embrace the opportunity to be inventive with the way they collect and show art.

And finally, the art-related travel dates to put in our 2021 diary are…

We don’t know what 2021 will bring, hopefully a return to a new normal. Regardless, the lasting impact from the pandemic will be a less crowded art calendar. But one thing is for certain, crisis has always fuelled incredible art and we can’t wait to see these works come to life next year.

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