On Saturdays I intern at this hot art gallery in SoHo. It’s kinda fierce. Today is Saturday and I’m headed to the gallery, and I know it’s going to be crazy because the Michel Gondry “Be Kind Rewind” exhibition opens tonight at 6 p.m. I’m wearing a red T-shirt, my trademark skinny black pants, a pair of large, obnoxiously nerdy grey glasses that do not have any lenses, this black lamé windbreaker from American Apparel and a pair of six-centimeter patent leather heels by a designer label whose name I will not mention.
I’m in the gallery three seconds before someone gives me 300,000 tasks to complete. I do my best not to freak out. Instead, I put my stuff down, take a deep breath, and run to Pearl Paint, where I alone am to buy several frames, pads of newsprint, markers, easel boards and glue. While I’m there, my phone rings 20 times and more things are added to this list. Minor freakout. An hour and a half later, I pay with the gallery’s credit card and I waddle back with the new shit.
As I run around, carrying Starbucks and feeling just like Andrea Sachs from “The Devil Wears Prada,” I can’t help but wonder: Why don’t I mind working my ass off like this for free?
Before my current gallery stint, I’d never had an internship, mostly because I used to be really bad in work environments. Don’t laugh at me, but when I was in high school I got fired from the Gap because 1) I was unapologetically and frequently late and 2) I liked to talk back to the managers and customers.
My bosses would be like, “Madison, you need to wear your headset so your co-workers can communicate with you!”
That headset alone is reason enough not to work there. Nobody is going to hit on someone in a fuckin’ headset. So I’d go: “I’m not wearing that shit. It’s ugly and I hate it.”
And then they were all, “You’re fired.” And I just laughed and was like, “Toodles!”
I don’t know. I guess it was just oppressively boring to fold the same pile of jeans 200 times, or to try to tell people those jeans didn’t make them look fat when, actually, they made them look even fatter.
But the celestial choirs have sung, and my anti-job phase has now come to a halt.
Working in an art gallery — especially in New York — is pretty neat. I get to be fierce at the front desk in my lens-less glasses and homo hawk, greeting people as they come in, answering questions about the art, and meeting artists and celebrities, too. I was even asked to work for Kehinde Wiley — one of the hottest African-American contemporary artists of the moment.
But the thing I like most about working at the gallery is that it is utterly fabulous. Every Saturday morning before I go in I’m just dying to know who is going to be wearing what, what personalities will come in and what I will get to do. Even though I do relatively brainless stuff for now, I have a lot of fun because it’s such a great environment.
Back to the Saturday of the Gondry show. The opening is at 6 p.m., and at 6:10 I’m still at Staples making copies of the instructions for the largely interactive show. When the copies are finally done, I exit and I move down Broadway, turning right down Grand Street and I take a left onto Wooster. When I zero in on the gallery, my jaw drops because I see dozens of cameras flashing, a red carpet and a velvet rope. There is a line full of hot hipsters and art world personalities that runs the length of Wooster Street to Canal Street, turning left onto Canal and going down that street, too.
I see this and immediately think, “This is ridiculous!!!!”
Protecting the entrance to the gallery is a very large bouncer in a tuxedo, his hair slicked back. When he sees me coming, he immediately opens the door and I just waltz right in, ahead of the crowd, and I start to feel REALLY fierce. Once inside I see Susanna, one of the art dealers, who is the most fabulous bitch I have ever met. She is wearing black stockings, patent leather super heels by Burberry and this extra-fabulous fur thing. But most impressively, her look is topped off by a black hooded cape, with the hood up!
Once “The People” are allowed in, little by little, I spend the bulk of the night looking at what others are wearing, hunting for celebrities and talking to as many folks as possible. To me, this is much better than folding a pile of clothes over and over again or having to retrieve them from “the back.”
Before I started interning at the gallery, I never understood why anybody would want to work anywhere for free. Ordinarily, I would not be eager to run around and make copies and whatnot for $0. Isn’t it odd that the job that pays is the one you hate, and the one you love is the one that doesn’t?
I’ve often thought that on the off chance that the graduate school thing didn’t work out — if I failed my oral exam, if my dissertation idea sucked ass, if Yale ended the graduate school in favor of building two new colleges — I could work at an investment bank, make a lot of money, and just, like, make art — like Jeff Koons did. But I really don’t think I could do it.
This homo is not cut out to wear a headset!
Madison Moore is not sure if investment bankers wear headsets.