200 Days in the Life of the College

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A portrait of the art expert as a young man

By Caitlin Fitzsimons ’11

On his first day as an intern at Christie’s, the renowned New York City art auction house, Kunter Kula ’11 found himself faced with a steep learning curve. His initial assignment involved contemporary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami — an artist with whom Kula was completely unfamiliar.

Kula was at Christie’s during the second semester of his sophomore year, courtesy of Hamilton’s Program in New York City. To complete the internship component of the program, he secured a position in the auction house’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Department. It was the posting that would introduce Kula to Murakami’s work.

Kula quickly rose to the challenge, conducting market research, assisting with appraisals and meeting with Christie’s clients. The semester in Manhattan also granted him opportunities both to observe the New York art market and to network with associates. As a result, he spent the following two summers in New York City, interning with the Sperone Westwater Gallery, working in client development and marketing for Novo Arts, an art consulting firm.

An economics major and art history minor who grew up in Turkey, Kula had come to Hamilton originally intending to major in chemistry. He credits the wealth of Hamilton’s opportunities and his participation in the Program in New York City with helping him focus his interest on the arts. Referring to the program as the highlight of his Hamilton experience, he says, “Hamilton has allowed me to take the chances and risks that I could not have taken anywhere else.”