‘Gallery Girls’: We Serialize Mary Blakemore’s Beloved Comic
Twenty-somethings get caught up with love and booze in the art world.
The term “gallery girls” may ring a pop-culture bell among those who followed the (miserably failed) Bravo television show of the same name from 2012. But the name was burned in our minds way before that. Starting in 2008, artist Mary Blakemore published a webcomic series, Gallery Girls, in which she examined the tribulations of young women getting their start in the art world.
In celebration of the webcomic’s appearance as a book (self-published by Blakemore), we’re serializing these timeless caricatures. As the saying goes, the best kind of humor hits close to home, and Blakemore does just that, with scenes depicting exactly what it feels like to walk into the office hung over after post-work drinks, or to have your boss dump a loathsome task on your desk at 6:01 pm, or to be sent on a talent-scouting trip to Yale’s graduate thesis show. (Spoiler alert: it’s train rides, boozing, and frat boys.)
The comic centers on a group of young women working at a fictional gallery called Cecilia West, run by a tyrannical owner of the same name. From a daydreaming receptionist to an antagonistic assistant and a rich French art dealer, every character you’ve met in your gallery rounds is expertly satirized.
Blakemore’s comic strips about ambitious, over-educated, twenty-something gals caught up in the art-world circus of booze, sex, drugs, and glamour didn’t come from firsthand experience, though, as one might expect. In a past interview, Blakemore disclosed that she had neither attended art school nor worked at a gallery. Rather, she was inspired by experiences she had as a receptionist. So it’s perhaps even more impressive that Blakemore does such a good job lampooning life inside the white cube.
Check back here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a favorite scene from Gallery Girls.
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