"Gallery Girls" Recap: A Trip to Phillips, the Horrors of Williamsburg, Eli Klein's Libido, and More

"Gallery Girls" Recap: A Trip to Phillips, the Horrors of Williamsburg, Eli Klein's Libido, and More
Claudia Martinez Reardon stresses over the business
(Bravo Network)

Last week’s maiden voyage of “Gallery Girls gave us soap-opera hysterics, frivolous social politics, cringe-worthy one-liners, outrageous fashion choices, and a first rate villain in the form of smalltime Soho art dealer Eli Klein. Will the para-artistic trails of 20-something perennial interns and misguided entrepreneurs continue to draw eyes to television screens and asses to seats? The second episode sputters a little at the gate: Chantal, we learn, would rather go to yoga and drink French press than clean up the space after last week’s rowdy opening, while we follow up with the professional dreams of Kerri, a personal concierge who has both the bod and the personality of a marble statue. 

A Good Man is Hard to Find

After the episode's initial meaderings, things start to get interesting, however, when prodigal Maggie returns to Eli Klein Fine Art, where she is disgruntled to find Liz holding court at the front desk. It took six months before Eli let her in the front of the gallery! Eli further debases Maggie by making her fold plastic bags into prefab dog poop receptacles. "This is actually making me dumber," she complains under her breath. Liz thinks that there’s something definitely kinky about Eli’s master-slave rapport with Maggie: "This poor girl has a degree in art history and he has her folding grocery bags, so clearly he has some kind of issue with her."

Night falls and Team Brooklyn heads to Huckleberry Bar in Williamsburg (random!) for girl’s night. Angela discloses that things didn't work out with David, last week’s steaming hunk of Australian photographer. (Perhaps she intimated him with her frank sexuality and proclivity for “high concept” fashion.) A group of randos siddle up to their table. Here “Gallery Girl”’s heterosexual male fan base will learn a valuable lesson: Do not try to seduce a gallery girl by sticking your finger in her ramekin of gourmet mac and cheese. The tooliest of the guys asks Laura (the other business partner at End of Century, you will recall — i.e. not technically a Gallery Girl) to move over so he can sit next to Angela. "It's Asian month," he says, proving that he is a racist, predatory, hors d'oeuvres molester. Trifecta! Angela replies, "I feel like we're being raped right now." The guy sticks his finger in Chantal’s mac again and runs away, spurting cheesy sauce all over Angela's hot pink cigarette pants. Angela fires back, in what is the episode's best bon mot: "Like, don't get béchamel sauce all over my clothes."

The Gallery Girls Go to an Auction

Following the commercial break, there's a montage of the girls in their bras. This trope symbolizes that a new day has dawned, while also showing young attractive girls in their bras. The gang converges at Philips de Pury, everyone's favorite first-tier second-tier auction house, and a Bravo favorite (auctioneer Simon de Pury is also the host of "Work of Art," of course). Kerri and Amy are shadowing their art advisor boss, while Chantal and Claudia are going with the naïve hope of coaxing some blue chip art collectors to come to their clothing annex on the Lower East Side where Claudia is trying to sell paintings by no-name artists. Their appearance prompts more Brooklyn-bashing from Maggie: "I'm amazed they've made it out of their caves in Brooklyn to come to the auction. The live in like, warehouses down there. Literally."

While Simone de Pury works his auctioneer magic, Chantal unveils her magical new haircut, which hovers in some liminal space between the Louise Brooks bob and the Justin Beiber swoop. Maggie tells Chantal she likes her hair — but later tells the camera that she doesn’t like her hair at all!

The girls agree to a ceasefire over drinks. Amy, the gregarious alcoholic, orders a lychee martini. Chantal, whom Kerri describes as a “dark, gothicy artsy version of Mary Kate and Ashley,” orders a non-Oregonian pinot noir. Further sectarian bitchiness ensues when Amy invites Kerri out for drinks near her house. Kerri, a proud West Villager, says she that can't deal with the Upper East Side. (Ironic coming from somebody who works as a personal concierge to billionaires.) Kerri takes off to go to a concert with her boyfriend Hernando, skipping out on the check. Amy quips: "I may be from the Upper East Side, but at least I know how to take care of my bill." That's a burn.

The Gallery Girls Face Professional Obstacles

Back at Eli Klein Fine Art, Episode Two reaches an absurdist high when Eli sends Maggie on an errand, of all places, to the Bedford L Stop! Maggie is terrified: “I thought a zombie apocalypse had come through.” She walks down an innocuous, gentrified street, expecting that someone will jump out from an abandoned warehouse and rob her. This absurd interlude goes on for a while. Who is this show for?

In New York’s other ungovernable post-apocalyptic badlands — the Lower East Side — gallerist Stephan Stoyanov does the End of Century girls a solid. He stops by with some "chic French clients" in hopes that they might buy some art. Claudia tries to entice them with Lauren Luloff’s abstract expressionist paintings on bed sheets (which are going between $6,400 and $7,500), but the potential clients are more interested in Chantal’s $400 hats made out of umbrella armatures.

There is now an incongruous and inexplicably timed flashback to Chantal’s haircut in the making. Kerri visits her grandparents in Long Giland, where they partake in down-home proletarian pleasures like chili, football, and Regis Philbin. Meanwhile, back in the City, the End of Century girls encounter their first utility bill, which they treat like some dangerous occult talismen. The girls from the fashion side of the hybrid gallery-boutique give Claudia an ultimatum: The store will go under unless Claudia sells a painting. Dun dun! 

A Good Man is Hard to Find: Part Deux

That night, Angela goes out for a night on the town with "her gays." The purpose of the gathering, she says, is to "discuss my plight as a single woman and also to find men.” She shows up in a man-repelling, Mrs. Haversham-style multi-tiered frilled bolero. Angela is tired of dating smelly, broke, STD-ridden Brooklyn dudes. Her sassy gay friend tells her that she's a “fucking man-eater” and is always going to be single. In an emotionally fragile moment, Angela confesses that her dad cheated on her mom and that she’s never had an orgasm, a revelation that makes her friend "gay squeal." He diagnoses her vagina with depression.

Finally, back at Eli's, the great Liz — who currently ties with Chantal as the show's best character, and who has been regrettably absent from Episode Two so far — gives voice to our suspicion that there’s something weird and possibly sexual about Eli and Maggie's relationship: "He’s trying to hit that." It indeed seems that Eli is trying to hit that when he takes Maggie out after work. Eli tries to shower her with artisanal pizzas (gross!), but Maggie says she and her boyfriend Ryan have dinner plans later. Ryan wouldn’t like the pizza anyway, because, she reveals, he doesn’t have a refined palette. He’s not a worldly sophisticate like Eli. Eli tries to get Maggie drunk and orders her another cosmo (really?) against her will. “Your boyfriend will thank me," he says, which makes the viewer want to take two showers, and not in pizza, either. We cut back to Liz in her mansion, musing to the camera that Eli and Maggie will secretly get married and make midget babies with slicked-back hair.

Next week on “Gallery Girls”: Amy gets drunk (again), Chantal tries to curate Claudia’s space, Maggie endures more internship abuse, and Liz's daddy, supercollector Marty Margulies, can’t say "I love you" to his daughter.