Gallery Girls Recap: I Weep For Humanity
Welcome to the first episode of The Real Housewives of New York, Junior Edition. It’s just like the regular Housewives, only with 97% less life experience and a splatter of paint. The show follows the careers of [counts them] six or seven young women who are working very, very exhaustively hard to make it in the cutthroat art world. No, they’re not artists. They’re gallery girls. What is a gallery girl? Apparently it is a recent college graduate who procures an internship at an art gallery while her parents foot the bill for her frivolous lifestyle. Or, as one girl puts it, “You work for free until somebody one day says we’ll give you a job.” I’m only 30 seconds into the show and I already hate everyone on my television screen.
First we meet Angela, who does a lot of nude modeling. Her parents are both doctors and do not approve of her bohemian lifestyle, so they cut her off after college. The thing is, time is tremendously fluid in the art world, so “after college” could mean “fifteen days ago but they still pay my rent and let me use the Amex.” Anyway, Angela has a very novel approach to dating. She does not believe in dates per se. Instead, she likes to have men take nude photographs of her which she reviews over soup dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai. If she likes the photographs, she will agree to a second non-date.
Kerri is scrappy. She grew up in a middle class family on Long Island and always dreamed of living in a West Village apartment. Proving that dreams really do come true, her mother is helping her move into a…wait for it…wait for it…West Village apartment! Overall, she seems fairly confused as to the definition of middle class. Kerri is a “lifestyle manager,” which she says is a personal concierge to wealthy people, but back in my day we used to call them “escorts.” She claims to work her ass of to pay her rent. Heh. Yes, I’m sure you do, hon.
Next we are treated to a view of Amy’s apartment on the Upper East Side. Amy makes no bones about it: she is a lazy, good-for-nothing layabout whose father pays the bills so that she has time for important tasks like going out, partying, meeting new people, networking, and interning. Amy chooses to live on the Upper East Side because “it’s safe and there are cute boys in sweater vests.” Yes, those preppy boys are always so safe. When she is not trolling Upper East Side bars for cute preppy boys, Amy is an intern for an art advisor, which is a person who tells wealthy people what artwork to purchase since the rich clearly do not know anything about artwork. Without art advisors, the Romneys would be wandering around museums not knowing their Pissarros from their Picassos, and we certainly can’t allow that to happen. Luckily interns always come in twos, so Kerri arrives to help occupy Amy’s cubicle. Dressed in a leather skirt and a fur jacket, Amy suggests that Kerri might be a hooker. High five, Amy. Or, do kids not do that these days? Should we fist bump? Anyway, I agree that there is a strong possibility Kerri gets very personal with her concierging.
Liz is a student at SVA. She paints herself orange and works in a gallery owned by a sweaty little man named Eli. Liz got the job because her father is an art collector. She is very helpful around the gallery, but there are a few things that she will not do. These include lifting things, getting things, filing things, and doing things. Liz lets us know that if Eli starts bossing her around, she’ll tell her dad and boy will he be angry. Eli had another intern, Maggie, but she disappeared one day because work is hard and she has a trust fund. Fortunately, she has returned just in time for the television crew to start filming.
All of the girls converge at Eli’s opening. Maggie does not like the downtown girls because they put lipstick on their lips and teeth. And, the last time she went out with them, they made everyone do something called “slap shots,” which involves taking a shot and slapping someone. I swear on all things that are holy that if this stupidity catches on, I will skip the shots and just start slapping people for real.
Claudia and Chantal are preparing their “space” for its grand opening with some other girl named Lana. Is it an art gallery? Sort of. A clothing store? Maybe. A flea market? Probably. We may not know exactly what it is, but we do know that Claudia and Chantal curate it, which makes them artists. It is on the Lower East Side, and one of the items for sale is a $370 t-shirt. Go ahead, read that again. A $370 t-shirt. Sigh.
They get into a fight about other peoples’ money. It turns out that non-galleries are not built upon wishes and dreams, so Claudia borrowed $15,000 from her family to open the non-gallery. She is rightfully concerned that the other girls are not taking the non-gallery seriously enough, which will result in Claudia’s family breaking all of their kneecaps. Chantal, on the other hand, feels that she is very, very serious about the non-gallery since she contributed $2,500 of her aunt’s money which Chantal earned through years of hard work and suffering. You see, Chantal lives in an apartment in a rough-and-tumble neighborhood called Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She also has a car that I cannot identify beyond its color (silver) and its distinguishing marks, including all four hubcaps and a noticeable lack of dings on the doors. Chantal clearly worked hard for these meager scraps, and therefore understands the value of her aunt’s $2,500. And, like every good businessperson, she has a six-month plan: If the non-gallery is not working out after six months, she is going to head down to Key West to chill. Do you have a six-month plan, Claudia? No? Didn’t think so.
After the bickering simmers to a low boil, the girls get ready for the big opening of their non-gallery. Maggie and Liz arrive with the two beefy bodyguards they hired to escort them below Houston Street. They dawdle by some knick-knacks, pick through a rack of rags, and head for the door without even taking a sip out of the ceremonial red plastic cups. To celebrate their departure, Chantal does the traditional Dance of Downtown while Angela straightens her pasties for the next photo shoot.
Before we part for the week, I’d like a word with the three of you reading this: I know that about half of you went to art school, so I assume that at least one of you has actually worked in a gallery. Is it really like this? Because I cannot believe that this is what goes on, like for real. This is a joke, right? It has to be. But if not, how did you do it? I mean, how did you work with these people without committing terrible, violent crimes? Please share your experiences in the comments.