Babes in the Woods: Bravo’s Gallery Girls Take on the Big Bad Art World

Think 'Girls' with less pathos

The Housewives, generally speaking, have dumb goals. Who cares if they manage to sell their diet margarita product? But the Girls, for all their bluster, have modest ambitions and are easy to root for. It turns out party-hearty Amy is just as humble as the rest of them, and she is shown in one scene doing tedious auction research for the art adviser Sharon Coplan Hurowitz. Ms. Martinez Reardon said she wanted to do the show because it was the most “surreal experience” imaginable, and probably to also gain publicity for her gallery. Ms. Margulies did it to gain entry to the art world on her own terms. “Even though this is through a TV show, it’s still something that I’m doing on my own, it’s not something my dad is doing for me,” she said.

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“I think it’s terrific exposure for the gallery,” Mr. Klein said in a phone interview, of why he participated in the show, “and for Chinese contemporary art, which is extremely underexposed in America.”

“I definitely didn’t get coffee for Liz,” he added. “I don’t get coffee for interns; sometimes I buy them coffee.” He paused. “I didn’t physically get coffee for Liz. I may have had Maggie get coffee for Liz.”

Gallery Girls may be a reality show, which is to say, it is more about catfights than enlightenment, but could it have been anything else?

“Most of the interesting things in the art world happen behind closed doors and outside of the auctions,” said Ms. Coplan Hurowitz, who hasn’t seen the show but said that based on her experience shooting it, she expects less gallery, more girls. “I think they wanted to introduce the art world to a wider public, and I think they took baby steps,” she elaborated, adding that she brought the film crew to some fairly insider places for scenes that she doubts will be used. “The situations of reality television are pretty commonplace: they’re going to grocery stores, they’re having a fight. They wanted to bring the art world to that audience, and not the reverse. They did that through these girls who are, in their own way, seeing the art world for the first time, so in that way the girls are the audience.”

At a certain point in our gallery-hopping, Ms. Martinez Reardon appeared to weary. “Should we get out of here?” she asked. “It’s so crowded, I’ll come back later when there’s no one here.” We made our way to the entrance, and I pointed out that that was a very art world thing to say, when you want to get out of an opening. “No,” she said, and finished her beer, placing it on the front desk of the gallery. “If I was a true art person, I would have said I’d seen it all already.”

dduray@observer.com

Gallery Girls premieres Monday August 13 at 10 p.m. EST on Bravo.

Babes in the Woods: Bravo’s Gallery Girls Take on the Big Bad Art World