Eli Klein is awful. We’ve seen enough now to know that it’s not just the editing, the scripting, or a slow-onset bout of gallery fever from being wedged between Maggie and Liz. The story arc about Eli and Maggie’s hypothetical past relationship has gone nowhere, so Eli has been repurposed in this episode as an eighth ‘gallery girl,’ throwing around catty gossip and pulling inane pranks. Worse yet: they let him talk about art.
We knew from the previews that Eli was going to have Maggie count pebbles in a bonsai installation. At a glance, it sounded like a typical art world eyeroll, a request from a high-maintenance artist that ties into the piece’s concept. The piece is an (already completed) Shen Shaomin, and according to Eli the last remaining piece from his bonsai series to be sold. Maggie is asked to count the installation’s pebbles so that each of the pieces in the series has the same number. Somehow, Maggie does not realize that with only one bonsai left, such a comparison is impossible, or that the artist doesn’t need her dicking around with his work. The pebbles, as it turns out, are just a distraction while Eli takes Liz out for dinner. He’s really stopped trying.
Later, the gallery gets a visit from Warhol-adjacent human Jane Holzer so that Maggie has someone new to feel embarrassed in front of. Eli brags about his expertise to Jane while Maggie fills the dog bowl out front. According to Eli, Shen Shaomin “for years … studied the best way to torture [the trees] and has them restrained and growing in the exact direction that he intended.” Eli should know that he’s just described every bonsai; in fact the piece makes its point of exposing the violence in the standard bonsai-making process just by leaving the tools on.
Things are no better at End of Century. The Brooklyn girls’ latest get-legitimate-quick scheme is to replace all their art with work by Ethan Cook, a New York-based artist who dyes canvas to look slightly worse than Photoshop filters. The girls plan to sell some blue and white sky-like canvases of his, and they begin a sad attempt at curating them in their gallery space. They bicker about the placement and try to sound intelligent by calling the work “smart and satirical” and “actually mind-boggling” (meaningless coming from Chantal). I’m not sure what it’s supposed to satirize, other than art. He is wearing round glasses though, so we know he’s going places.
Claudia discusses pricing with the artist, but neither of them know anything about the price of art. Ethan is thinking “relative to Lauren’s pricing,” referencing the last artist-who-repurposes-canvases-as-canvases to grace EoC’s walls (who didn’t sell a single painting). The situation is so dire that Chantal has to step in and sort them out; Claudia takes the help and saves the stabbing metaphors for the confessional. We at Art Fag City are surprised at Chantal’s business acumen: as Paddy Johnson puts it, she exhibits “the kind of confident ignorance one can only have by knowing next to nothing.”
Liz’s mother Anne Margulies stops by Liz’s apartment to cook a pot of lobsters and make sure we all know that she can pronounce ‘escargot’ Frenchly. The two of them discuss Liz’s studies at the School of Visual Arts, and the subject quickly turns to just how many Asians there are in SVA’s student body. Intrigued, the producers follow Liz to a class where she works on a Rauschenberg-style collage while her professor who, having seen her last name, claps like a seal. One creepy montage of the class’s Asian students later, Liz returns from a break to find that her collage has a footprint on it (presumably from some sort of awesome art drop-kick, as the piece was left on an easel).
The footprint is from a sneaker, so Liz picks an Asian student at random and, seeing that he’s wearing sneakers, accuses him of the well-placed artstomp. To her horror, it is revealed that pretty much everyone in the room is wearing sneakers. She’s surrounded.
For reference, SVA reports a 12.5% Asian student body, less than that of NYU, Columbia and all of CUNY. It doesn’t seem that Liz knows anything about her school, though, as shown when she whines to her father about having to take two magical courses only offered to seniors. That’s your thesis, sweetie, it’s why you’re in art school.
Art advisor Sharon Hurowitz brings interns Kerri and Amy to the IFPDA Print Fair. The interns are then tasked with each finding one piece at the fair that catches their eye. Kerri finds a piece of watercolor paper tacked to the wall with some strips of plastic bags glued onto it. Sharon eats up the piece’s backstory: the plastic bags come from different places, and this makes the piece interesting. Amy’s choice doesn’t go over so well with Sharon; she went with the first Hirst she could find so she’d have more time to yell at Maggie in a nightclub bathroom (see above).
Last and least is Angela. This week we see her shoot The Creators Project DUMBO, and are reaffirmed in our suspicion that she’s as bad a photographer as she is a date: through the entire show of light-based installations and projected images, not once does she turn the flash off. Besides, she’s “actually more interested in shooting arty photos of [her] friends” Chantal and Claudia than treating her assignment with any professionalism.
Still high off the idea that she’s actually a photographer, Angela summons her gay council to plan a show of her work. She wants to be a “photographer-slash-it-girl,” and with 8-10 “solid shots” that not even her gays like, she’s ready.
Of course it’s not Gallery Girls without a round of not-date dating. This week’s lucky winner is photographer Peter Bogardus. He looks like a normal person, which triggers Angela’s fantasies about men in midlife crisis. The editors cut his dialog into a montage to make it seem like he’s talkative. Really, though, the best line they could get out of Angela was “I love coriander”, so I don’t blame him for doing the talking. Her fantasy is shattered when it turns out that as a normal person, he commits such atrocities as owning a Nokia and actually knowing how to use a film camera.
“If he has Yahoo or Hotmail,” she says, “I think that’s a big no-no.”
Next time on Gallery Girls: Someone fetishizes Angela for her race. It’s okay when she does it though.
- Gallery Girls Episode 8: Cheers to Double-Fisting
- Gallery Girls Episode 7: “It Feels So Good to Be a Gangster”
- Gallery Girls Episode 6: We’ve All Made Mistakes
- Gallery Girls Episode 5: I Didn’t See a Vagina in It, But Spencer’s Boss Did
- Gallery Girls Episode 4: “Gays and Asians, We Can’t Handle Either of You Anymore”
- Gallery Girls Episode 2: “I Feel Like We’re Being Raped Right Now”
- Gallery Girls Episode 1: I’m Just Going to Let Her Rot