Though only two of the show's stars actually work in what can truthfully be described as a "gallery", and "art" makes but peripheral, fleeting cameos, Gallery Girls has been occupying my waking and working thoughts lately.
Why hasn't anyone told those Brooklyn girls that the best way to avoid EMBARRASSING lipstick on teeth scenarios is to quickly suck your own index finger? How many dealers did they approach before settling for Eli Klein? Why hasn't anyone tried to show off about their graduating thesis yet?
To my great rage, only the first two episodes were available for download. Then Morgan, real life Gallery Girl at the Adam Gallery in Wellington, helpfully pointed me to a "cam" version on Youtube. Some generous, devoted soul had videoed their own television and put it up on the web. Since then, I have been reading every episode recap I can get my hands on. In case you've missed the show, or like me, have a need to re-live every ridiculous joke of an episode, here are some of the best ones:
It's difficult to say which facet of GG's many dimensional world (actually two - Brooklyn and Upper East Side, with a slight nod to working class Long Island) makes me squirm the most. Eli Klein Fine Art? "You can't just 'dabble' in Chinese art, you have to really focus" (uh - thanks for the tip) and his kinky master-slave fetish relationship with the painful Maggie? Liz at art school? (Too many Asian students at SVU for poor, daddy issues Liz) Kerri's dream of one day "curating art for a hotel"? (Girl.....)
But none of these quite hit the spot, not quite in the way that End Of Century does. This is partly because of my deep, deep, instinctive loathing for Chantal from the minute she drunkenly lied to us doing some yoga in the morning, which, she followed up with a back up lie when she finally rolled up to the shop, two hours late, the morning after the opening. For some reason, the need to lie about yoga and "french press" coffee really pressed my buttons.
And it is partly because of poor, poor Claudia - whose indulgent-to-a-fault parents sprung for the 15K investment into said shop. When negotiating with an artist fee on the cut the shop will take, she stammers out "um - it's like individual....with the artist....", while Chantal looks smugly superior. Also, she describes the first set of paintings as being produced on "canvas-fabric hybrids" and really got my groan going by assuring the camera that you, "really have to know your shit". Oh Claudia, why oh why did you leave the Gagosian....
And then there's the shop itself. I don't know if I hate anything more than "curated shop spaces". Here's the website - complete with Instagram'd 'pieces' - some notepaper, a hat or two. Alright there's no hats, but there should be, given Chantal's penchant for ersatz Philip Treacy adornments. No - you are not, and will never be, Isabella Blow.
I'm trying to recall if any of my own gallery girl experiences would be TV worthy. I have once been shouted at by a dealer, and I have witnessed an intern being really shouted at too. A friend who works for an prestigious NY art institution has shared with me that, "surrounded by social and professional over achievers, she has never felt so alienated and inept." There was the enterprising junkie who rented the flat under the Auckland gallery space I ran with a few friends, whose clients did their obliging best to add the K'rd colour we were after. I may have once accidentally flashed John Hurrell when he came up to see a show we were still installing. But all in all, my tenure as a gallery girl has just been interesting, stimulating and has often made me feel extremely lucky.
F THAT. If you have any Gallerina or Gallerino (because boys work in galleries too! Who knew) stories you want to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you wish, I will keep any incriminating details obscured.
XOXO - Gossip Girl.