Dr. Thomas Girst, head of BMW International Cultural Engagement, has a passion for art, with enough expertise, experience and creativity to fuel a global brand. He is also an author, journalist, art historian and professor. Leading BMW’s cultural group since 2003, he initiates global partnerships that connect artists with the brand’s history, values, and marketing strategy. For over 40 years, with over 100 projects worldwide, BMW Group’s cultural commitment has been an essential part of its corporate communications and cultural engagement, reaching new heights under Dr. Girst’s helm. Valuing freedom of creative potential in art and within a successful business enterprise, Girst has deepened the company’s commitment to modern and contemporary art, jazz and classical music as well as architecture and design.
Dr. Girst’s impressive background includes being honored with the “European Cultural Manager of the Year” award and serving as cultural correspondent and columnist for the German media outlet Tageszeitung (TAZ), “The Truth” New York from 1995 and 2003 . As an editor and journalist writing about literature and business, Girst has published widely within international newspapers, magazines, catalogues and academic journals, including Tate Modern, Science Ltd., Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Museum of Design, The Andy Warhol Foundation, Museum for Applied Arts Cologne, Art in America, Frieze, Sotheby’s, The Art Newspaper, and many more. He has published 7 acclaimed books on subjects including artist Marcel Duchamp, the Japanese Internment, the Postwar and Contemporary American Art, and the art world.
Grace Cho, Founder and CEO interviewed Dr. Thomas Girst by phone from Berlin.