I don’t see myself as someone who ‘collects’ art, and I don’t want to be considered an art collector. At least not in the sense of what makes one an art collector outwardly, united with others by chance or even to gain social recognition. After all, you don't want to be categorized together with a bunch of strangers just because, like them, you visit the toilet twice a day, shower daily or only once a week, like potatoes, or secretly try to play on a shawm you made yourself from reed stalks.
To call oneself an art collector is actually rather sad. If anything, it should be something quite private and personal – something that really only concerns you and your loved ones.
Only showmen put something on display. Those who love art quietly collect wonderful things created by others through the centuries. They do so secretly, silently and with a sense of humility pertaining to the fact that something belongs to them temporarily: a work of art that they can never fully own.
Thomas Girst, b. 1971, studied art history, American Studies and German literature at Hamburg University and New York University, PhD. While in New York between 1995-2003 he was head of the Art Science Research Laboratory under the directorship of Stephen Jay Gould, Harvard University. Since 2003, he is the global Head of Cultural Engagement at the BMW Group. Girst lectures at various international universities. In 2016, Girst received the “European Cultural Manager of the Year” award. Recent books include: Art, Literature, and the Japanese American Internment, The Indefinite Duchamp, The Duchamp Dictionary, BMW Art Cars, 100 Secrets of the Art World. In 2022 Cultural Management: A Global Guide will be published by Thames & Hudson.
Prof. Dr. Thomas Girst by Andreas Krieger