And here some people thought HBO’s Girls (Lena Dunham) had the most self-indulgent 20-somethings on TV.
Gallery Girls is one of the several Bravo reality series that has sucked me in as a relaxing, guilty-pleasure show I can wind down with before I pass out with my hands moisturizing in aloe gloves and a few Jolly Ranchers wrappers twisted into a sticky mess on my bedside table. There are seven young women featured on the show, who are all interested and involved in the NYC art world.
Jenni Maier over at Crushable is so accurate when she calls it it possibly, “the most hate-watchable show on television right now.”
I don’t want to toot my own bedazzled horn, but I know more than a basic amount about the art world in larger cities, how art is sold, and how a gallery is run. I’ve also discussed this show with women who are artists, and who work at art museums and galleries. Rather than have sympathy for the cast of Gallery Girls, I can only feel an overwhelming amount of rage.
So, let’s talk about the Gallery Girls cast… because I’m willing to be lenient with a few.
Gallery Girls – Liz Margulies – More often than not, I feel she is an icy bitch. (Oh no, did someone put a sneaker print on her bad art again?! Time to accuse the first Asian she sees!) She lords about her father and his importance in early episodes, using it to get an internship with Eli Klein, and then doing not a whole lot while the girl who’d been there for a long time (Maggie) had to do degrading tasks. It’s a complete class thing. If Liz was serious about actually working or learning things, she’d speak up. She was humanized a bit when we learned that she’s actually not close with her father at all, because she’s had troubles in the past and he doesn’t seem willing to forgive her. It makes me sad for her about that, I feel for her. I also really like her Mother, and the relationship she has with her.
Gallery Girls – Kerri Lisa – The most likeable of the entire bunch, Kerri probably should have realized her interest in art before now. I feel so bad at how she has to juggle her full time job, and this internship. When she gets mad at Amy about the workload, I don’t think that’s fair. Amy’s earned her spot, if Kerri wants to be an intern then she’s expected to do these menial tasks. But I cannot stress how much I do respect how Kerri is pursuing something she loves, how sweet her Mom is, and how normal/nice Kerri seems next to some of the others. She’s also smart! I feel like Kerri and Maggie could become good friends… and that they could include Amy if they were honest with her about having her come down to earth a bit. But if Amy feels judged, she’s going to revert back to her comfortable habits that make the other’s dislike her. (I am literally trying to match make friends for them, yes! Oh, and I also think Kerri and Claudia could be besties unless Claudia would be be snobby about Kerri’s inexperience… Claudia just needs new friends other than Chantal…)
Gallery Girls – Chantal Chadwick – Pretentious! Judgmental! Affected! Does she have a sincere, sarcastic bone in her frail, hunch-backed, body? Rather than being the cool, unique girl who becomes a role model she’s presented herself as that irresponsible, blame-passing, jerk of a friend that you wish you’d never had during high school.
Gallery Girls – Claudia Martinez – Claudia, dear sweet, passive Claudia! She is gorgeous and easily the prettiest of the bunch without knowing it. But she’s insecure and let’s people like Chantal walk all over her. There are times where I wonder if she’s more of a snob than I realize… I don’t know. For the most part, I think she just needs to have more confidence. Color me flabbergasted that she persuaded her parents to invest into starting up EOC aka End of Century. It didn’t take more than one episode of Gallery Girls for me to see that this would never make money (which isn’t to say that art gallery/shops can’t make money – just that they don’t know what they’re doing.) I am so sad for her that she let’s Chantal blame her for not selling art. Gee, what do you think is going to sell more? The $60 necklace or the $500 5×5 piece of art? But okay, none of the girls even know what to price pieces of art at… have they even tried to do research and educate themselves?
Gallery Girls – Angela Pham – I do respect her background and story of leaving her parents/money in Orange County to pursue her genuine dreams. Unfortunately, she’s not putting in enough effort. She also doesn’t seem entirely serious about it. Rather than talk about wanting to be a photographer, she often talks about wanting to be an “It Girl” and seems to party an awful lot. The way she put her art show together was … pathetic. Nothing was framed (maybe I should be glad they had mats?), the art on the walls wasn’t even straight or spaced out properly. And where were the tags with the photograph names and prices? Again, I question how serious she is about her art, or whether it’s a means to her ideal “fame whoring” ends. All of this gets packaged along with her snobby attitude, and I just can’t help but really dislike her. (I do like her meaning behind her blog name “Totally Not Depressed.”)
Gallery Girls – Amy Poliakoff – Easily a villain, I actually feel like this is a case of a rich girl who is dreadfully insecure more than a brat. She’s willing to put in work, she tries to be friendly to everyone… but people only see her as a Legally Blonde rich girl. I don’t think that’s fair at all. She has displayed knowledge of art, she’s not dumb at all. As for having rich parents.. that makes her lucky, yes. But it’s not reason enough to hate her.
Gallery Girls – Maggie Schaffer – She has such potential, but I fear she’s gotten sucked into some bad choices. She’s too smart to be so dumb. I also wonder how she affords Prada shoes if she’s an unpaid intern. (Perhaps they are Prado?) Maggie’s parents are sweet and cute, as is her supportive boyfriend. (Although Maggie’s views on how he should take charge are really old-fashioned. Do you also want him to cut your steak into pieces for you, girl?)
Gallery Girls Eli Klein of Eli Klein Fine Art in New York – I hope his reputation is ruined after this show. I really do. He’s fussy and rude. I don’t care what he knows about contemporary Chinese art, or if he’s the biggest expert in North America. I’d never deal with him. He seems sneaky… I’d never trust him. I think he might even prefer being rich over having an appreciation to art… the show did not paint him in a good light. How he treats Maggie is despicable.
The Sucklord of Suckadelic – While I don’t personally really love his pop art pieces as ones I’d own, I am a huge fan of his personality! He’s talented for what he does, he’s charismatic, honest, and so much damn fun! He has branded himself with great humor, and I love him! Tweet The Sucklord today! @SuckLord
Remember this, dear readers: art is not simply a luxury in life. It is vital to give beauty and meaning to your living.
Gallery Girls Season 1 Episode 6 “Who Loves the Sun” airs tonight, Monday September 17 on BRAVO. The Gallery Girls Season Finale Season 1 Episode 7 “Beginning to See the Light” airs September 24. Photos: BRAVO. Will there be a Gallery Girls season 2? I have no clue at this point.
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Follow TV Critic Jessica Rae on Twitter @ThisJessicaRae.
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