As the episode opens, Angela’s relentless campaign of self-promotion finally pays off when she locks down her photo show venue/it girl celebutante party. The shindig will take place at a shoe store called Creative Recreation in Soho. So she has cracked the shoe world, the first logical step towards an art career! The themes will be “solitude and moroseness.” Get ready for a wild ride.
Claudia's Ace in the Hole, Amy's Dinner Party
While Angela’s art dreams are coming true, Claudia is learning to compromise on hers. Still miffed that she has yet to turn parlay paintings into cash, her partner in crime Chantal sends Claudia out for what amounts to a crazy Spiderman-meets-Batman Bravo reality show fantasy meetup: a studio visit to the workshop of unlicensed action figure maker and “Work of Art” cast-off Morgan “The Sucklord” Phillips (remember him?). Chantal apparently "read" about "this guy" named the Sucklord, and "thought" he would be a good addition to End of Century’s stable. “We know his stuff is going to sell,” Chantal tells Claudia with phenomenal confidence given the content of that sentence, “so i guess we need to just suck it up.” Pun intended.
Claudia and the Sucklord meet cute, creating a perfect self-reflexive ouroboros of Bravo’s television universe. He shows Claudia his various branded suckery, from trading cards called the “Suck Pack” to a 20-dollar roll of toilet paper, “Ass Wipe.” Claudia thinks the guy is a douchebag and worries that his nerd kitsch grownup toys might not fit their client base of young hot downtown girls. “What are you into, chick flick stuff?” he responds. "Yeah we listen to Joni Mitchell all day and cry and then at the end of the day we try to sell some art." The chemistry is electric! The two lovebirds are interrupted by Chantal, who, as it happens, is a big Sucklord fan. After putting their heads together, these three somehow agree on some topical Occupy Wall Street-themed exhibition, including a limited-edition, super-political toilet paper entitled “Occupy Your Asshole.” Or maybe tampons, the Sucklord suggests, since EOC is for girls. Art!
Over in Murray Hill, Maggie is multitasking, steaming a satin blouse and bitching at her mom on the phone at the same time. She’s going home to Pennsylvania for the weekend and wants to make sure there will be a sufficient quantities of sparking wine and “green bean casserole for Ryan.”
Meanwhile, Amy is having a dinner party (sans green bean casserole, one hopes). Always one to take the high road, or the boot-licking ground-crawler road, depending on how you think about it, Amy invites Liz to her party, even though, only last week, Liz had called her a groveling ass-kisser with substance abuse issues. Liz is a no-show, as are Chantal and Claudia, who call feigning illness within five minutes of one another. Amy and some of her blood relatives eat salad in total silence. It is, as Amy says, the “worst party ever.” That is until Kerri, Maggie, and Angela show up! Amy gives them the grand tour; and the girls take turns making fun of Amy’s nouveau riche decorating taste. Kerri, whose dubiously palatial digs we saw just last week, has some harsh words for Amy’s fancy upholstered wallpaper. Maggie says that “Amy's apartment is decorated like an old person's house.” Angela says, “Amy’s apartment is large, expensive, and gaudy, just like Amy.” Ouch! The girls finish the night by drinking wine and wondering aloud about how prints come in editions.
Sharon's Scorn, Maggie's Malaise
Speaking of limited editions, the next day we find ourselves at the International Print Center with print epicure Anne Coffin and everyone’s favorite plucky female art adviser, Sharon Hurwotz. Amy is notably absent. She shows up an hour late with the world’s least sympathetic apology: "I'm so sorry. It's impossible to get from the Upper East Side all the way down to Chelsea in such a quick amount of time." Sharon gives Amy the business about her habitual tardiness. It looks like that honeymoon might be over.
While Amy’s internship is on the rocks, Maggie takes a much-needed vacay from her indentured servitude (and the Gallery Girl's only real "gallery" presence) at Eli Klein Fine Art to see her parents in Pennsylvania. She is bringing Ryan, who finds maternal comfort in Maggie’s home life ever since his mother passed away. They drive by Maggie's alma mater, Layfayette College, which is cause for reflection on her post-collegiate nonsalaried slup. At home, Maggie's adorable mom fries up some latkes and worries about Maggie's well-being: "Why can't they just be little forever and be with their mommy forever?," she frets, as moms are wont to do. The dinner conversation turns to Eli Klein. Sweet Ryan says, “He's just not a very good person. He doesn't have any character. It sucks for her because she loves the artists there. She loves that culture [China]. I just don't want her to lose her passion." Maggie has a glazed look on her face when the conversation splinters into a meaningless din of well-intentioned but useless parental advice. Beleaguered and wanting to change the subject, Maggie jokes that she just aspires to be a host on QVC.
Meanwhile the EOC girls get ready for the Sucklord show. Claudia remains skeptical: “I'm worried its going to alienate old customers who are wondering why we have a toymaker showing in our space.” She and the Sucklord exchange bons mots as they stick shrinkwrapped “Occupy Cybertron” action figures to the wall. “Do you have any major collectors buying your work?” she asks. “Nah, I don't really give a shit who buys my work. I'm a fucking god in the designer toy world.” We smell the beginnings of an amazing rom-com. He suggests they stage a politicized performance art piece/populist riot in the gallery. Laura and Claudia aren’t so sure about this, so he tries to comfort them: “I'm sensitive to your nervousness, but it will be like, Wow! EOC is putting on some avant-garde shit over there."
Meanwhile, a newly empowered Maggie decides to go AWOL from Eli Klein. She visits Brenda Taylor Gallery, looking for a paying job. She meets Marilyn Rosenberg, director of special projects, who grills her on her art world credentials. In case you were wondering, Maggie’s favorite artists are Banksy and Kenny Scharf (who knew?). Unfortunately, she doesn’t have much to say about the Jorg Madlener hanging on the wall. Things go from bad to abysmal when Rosenberg quizzes her on a particularly yonic piece of wall sculpture. When Maggie admits that she doesn’t really know much about photography in a room full of John Carney photos, Rosenberg basically shows her the door. Undeterred, Maggie continues her job hunt at the contemporary realist gallery Bernarducci Meisel. Her interview with the gallery assistant goes like this: “Do you speak a foreign language?” “Not fluently.” “Do you have experience in graphic design?” “Not intensely.” “What have you learned at Eli Klein?” No response.
Enter the swaggering co-owner, Frank Bernarducci, a guy so cool he doesn’t seem to care about Maggie’s apparent lack of practical skills or acquired knowledge. He tells her to come back for a second interview. And we are in fantasy land.
EOC's Suckfest, Angela's Solo Show
To the east, the EOC/Sucklord collaboration event is positively bumping. Sucklordian fanboys are geeking out hardcore in viking helmets, while Claudia, Chantal, and Laura stack paper. Things hit a temporary snag when a throng of performers impersonating Occupy Wall Streeters break into the gallery. The Suckloard grants the uproarious 99 percenters amnesty in the gallery space, and the party goes berzerk. Even Claudia is impressed: “Seeing him in his element completely changed my perception of him. It was sweet.” On a totally unrelated note, Chantal reveals that, whilst scrolling through photos of puppies on her phone, she accidentally showed her boyfriend's boss a picture of her vagina. The purpose of the photograph was not to arouse, but to highlight the lingering pain and unsightly irritation and redness of recently waxed pudenda. Chantal vows to show Spencer’s boss a picture of her vagina again, when “it’s not all red and bumpy.”
While Chantal plots a vaginal comeback, Amy and Kerri meet up over coffee and pastries at a cutesy Manhattan bakery. Amy tries to delegate some of the menial tasks Sharon asked her to do onto poor, overworked Kerri. By foisting her assignments on others, Amy hopes to get back in Sharon's good graces by showing that she's taking initiative. Kerri is so exhausted from fetching bagels for billionaires and decorating her West Village townhouse that she threatens to faint unless somebody brings her a square of chocolate.
And then, at long last, it is the night of Angela’s photo show. Titled “Totally Not Depressed,” it is an ode to “the state of denial in which we all live.” Her photos are neither great nor terrible; what’s really illuminating is Angela’s cheerful brand of narcissism that occasionally dives into solipsism and emptiness. “It's really just teetering on the precipice of moroseness. That's really what I love about my own photography.” “It's just all a mask” she tells the camera point-blank. Here, we glimpse — if only for a precious minute — the true, unadulterated misery behind Angela’s meretricious self-love.
Spencer — Chantal's boyfriend and a self-described Asian fetishist — tells Angela she’s going to be an art star. Chantal is miffed: “He's just kissing her ass. Enough already with the Asian fetish.” She tells Angela that photography is her least favorite medium because she finds it “really easy to manipulate.” Angela is down on her herself... until Eli Klein arrives, lending — in Angela’s words — an air of legitimacy to the event. Amy, who Angela recently mocked for her geriatric taste in home furnishings, was the most supportive: “Angela focuses in on very personal things that mean something to her. My heart goes out to Angela and I really want her to make a splash.” Liz, who sadly makes only a cameo in this week’s episode, is unsurprisingly stingy with her compliments: “At least it wasn't depressing like EOC.”
At the end of the evening, Angela emerges victorious: “I accomplished exactly what I wanted to accomplish tonight, and I did it. I did it!” she cries triumphantly. Alas, this moment of self-congratulation is but fleeting. Now that her temporary goal is accomplished, she decides that she’s over photography and wants to go into writing. “I get bored easily. Photography was something I wanted to do, but I feel in three months I won't want to anymore.”
While Angela is in the throes of a dilettante’s ennui, Kerri makes a shrewd power play. She “checks in” with Sharon about the instructions Amy left to her. Needless to say, Sharon is not pleased. “There isn't a hierarchy here. I did not ask her to have that capacity of delegating things.” Winter is coming!
Next Week On "Galley Girls": Art Basel Miami Beach, even more pubic waxing, Liz and Claudia throw down.