cultivist-founders-feature

Marlies Verhoeven and Daisy Peat, co-founders of The Cultivist – a members-only, global arts club – take us on a tour of the art world.

The Cultivist is the world’s only global arts club. “With a single card, you can glide through museums, galleries and art fairs across the world. No tickets, no bookings, no complications.”

Its well-travelled founders, Marlies Verhoeven and Daisy Peat – who previously formed Sotheby’s Preferred program (an all-access pass to the world’s best museums) – have attained quite the international (you might even say “cult”) following since launching The Cultivist in 2015. Members include artists, curators and established collectors keen to embark on curated art trips to destinations including Tel Aviv, Marfa and Beirut.

We ventured on a fictive world tour with the pair, beginning in the Rothko room at MOCA in LA. From here we swept past Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains outside of Las Vegas, skipped the queue at the Setouchi Triennale in Setouchi, Japan, and busted into private art collections in Lisbon before spending an afternoon in a handful of fêted, UK-based artist’s studios. While our runaround may have been notional, the places listed are all accessible – with a swipe of your The Cultivist membership card that is.

How can we become members?

We have an application process. Our community is quite diverse and includes artists, curators and collectors but also fashion designers, interior decorators, bankers, lawyers and tech entrepreneurs. The common denominator is that all our members are collectors or are simply passionate about the arts. Anyone who is truly interested in art will fit in nicely.

What are some of the perks of a Cultivist membership?

On average, we organise around ten events each month all over the world, each offering exclusive access to the home of a collector, an artist’s studio, behind the scenes of a major exhibition and more. We also provide easy and exclusive access to global exhibitions and art fairs and as well as bespoke art travel guides and curated art trips to destinations such as Lisbon, Tel Aviv, Marfa and Beirut. Our curated overview of the best exhibitions, art fairs and openings are extremely valuable for our members – especially from an unbiased source.

For seasoned collectors who are focused on building their collection, and have a lot of access on their own, our bespoke concierge service and travel helps to save them valuable time. Knowledge is one of the reasons people join our community. Everything we do is designed to enrich and elevate because we believe that the more you know, the more you like, understand, see and feel.

Tell us about the tour guides Cultivist members can access…

We work with the best guides and have arranged private tours in more than 50 cities to date. With 24 hours’ notice, we can tailor an art tour in a destination of your choice, including arranging private tours at almost any museum you can think of.

Tell us some secret spots in the world’s best-known museums…

We work with every single art fair and art museum in the world and we love them all but some of our favourites have to be the Garden Court at The Frick Collection where you can sit, listen to the water from the fountain and draw. There’s also an underground bowling alley. The Rothko room at MOCA in LA is almost spiritual, you could spend hours in there. The New Museum in New York has a stairwell between the third and fourth floors that leads to a wide horizontal window with great views over Soho. The shop at Tate Modern, London, is where we find the best birthday presents.

Six public art works to stop us in our tracks (by city)…

1. Dan Flavin’s light installation at Santa Maria Annunciata in Chiesa Rossa, Milan. 2. Leandro Elrich’s Maison Fond in Paris. 3. Richard Serra’s East-West/West-East in Qatar. 4. Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains outside of Las Vegas. 5. Torres de Satélite in Mexico City. 6. James Turrell’s Celestial Vault in The Hague, Netherlands.

In your opinion, how does travel inform artistic practice…

Being immersed in an environment and culture that is outside of your own routine creates a sense of displacement that forces you to see and look at things in a different way. It’s incredibly regenerative for the creative process.

Art-related travel dates to put in our diary…

The Venice Biennale, which happens every other year, and Manifesta, which happens in a different European location every two years. The Setouchi Triennale is worth travelling for. In Paris this autumn, there will be a Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition that has been 100 years in the making. If you’re looking to build your art collection, visit one of the world’s many art fairs – larger cities put on great exhibitions and events when the fairs come to town. We would recommend travelling for Zona Maco in Mexico, Frieze London, FIAC in Paris, the Armory Show in New York, Art Basel in Miami and Hong Kong (add on a trip to Japan) and Basel. For something different, we would also recommend travelling to Shanghai for its November art fairs.

Design hotels worth the journey…

Hôtel Les Roches Rouges, Côte d’Azur; El Fenn, Marrakech; Verana, Mexico; The Siren Hotel, Detroit.

Five hotels you’d stay in based on their art collections…

Château la Coste in the South of France; Wanås Restaurant Hotel in Sweden; The Fife Arms in Scotland; Le Sirenuse in Italy; Casa Malca in Mexico.

Where’s your next adventure?

We are off to Arkansas, Berlin and Tel Aviv this autumn. We manage to get real insider access wherever we go and will be able to visit some of the city’s best private collections, leading artists’ studios and behind-the-scenes access at major art institutions. Food and music are always big on our agenda too.

Finish this sentence. To really appreciate the culture of a place you need to…

Understand it’s history, whether that be political, social, architectural, literary or artistic.

Great artist studios to visit in the UK…

Annie Morris and Idris Khan (they work in adjoining studios), Gavin Turk, Conrad Shawcross, Maggi Hambling, Christopher Le Brun and Mark Wallinger.

Take us on a fictive art-based road trip. Where do we need to visit? (geographical obstacles do not apply).

We could forever spend our lives on a art-based road trip and not get tired of it. It’s almost impossible to narrow down. If we were only allowed five stops on an around-the-world ticket, it would have to be Naoshima island in Japan, Gibbs Farm sculpture park in New Zealand, land art sites across Texas, Indochine in Brazil and then preferably a full week at the end to spend properly exploring the Louvre.

What are you reading at the moment?

The Art of Love: The Romantic and Explosive Stories Behind Art’s Greatest Couples by Kate Bryan

Your favourite apps…

We’re about to launch our own app listing all our favourite exhibitions, art spaces and commercial galleries – as well as our global events and trips. So it’ll be jumping to the top of our list as soon as it’s launched. In the meantime, we enjoy My Art Guides, Headspace, TripCase and The Infatuation.

One piece of travel advice…

Pace yourself, leave yourself time to take in every little bit.

And finally, what’s in your SUITCASE?

Our Cultivist museum card, a portable phone charger and a reusable water bottle.

You May Also Like

City Guides

You know how you have that one incredible friend who knows their city inside out? That’s us. We take the world’s most dynamic destinations, hand-pick the best bits and give them to you in one place. This is the kind of guide that you don’t need to run by a local – it was written by one. Eat your heart out, shop until you drop, drink like a fish, dance your socks off, sleep – then repeat.

Bundles

Curate your bookcase with the full SUITCASE library. From Volume 2 through 26, we've been around the world, explored uncharted landscapes and reexamined travel perceptions along the way. We invite you to do the same; grow your collection today.

Download Suitcase App
Learn More