Diana just posted about this new show called Gallery Girls on her blog and it brought up so many thoughts and feelings for me. It's another new reality tv show, but this one kind of hits me deep because it is about New York girls who work in the gallery world. Ever since I was a tiny little girl, I had two dreams: 1, To start my own orphanage so I could save all the orphans of the world (this was in thanks to movies like the BFG and Annie.) 2, I always wanted to be a museum curator in NYC. It was my dreaaaaam career.
Here's the giant response I ended up writing after seeing Diana's post about the new show:
When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a museum curator. My favorite outing with my dad as a tiny little 6 year old was going to the big fancy museums in London. From age 12 on, I just knew I wanted to be a museum curator, that’s all I wanted to do. I collected art books in stacks. I painted my bedroom walls white and bought 2 white cupboards to put all of my stuff inside of them so my room would look like a clean minimalist art gallery with just my little bed and dark blue comforter. I would write stories about my future as a single 20 something living in a flat in New York. It was my DREAM for almost a decade.
And then I got to college, majoring in Art History, and realized I just couldn’t memorize words. I have an amazing memory for music, and images, but I have an impossible time attaching things I read to the images I was memorizing in Art History no matter how much I studied. So I decided I needed to switch majors and eventually I found my way to Illustration.
2 years ago I was working as an artist’s assistant to a sculptor here in Seattle and another assistant and I got to drive one of the pieces all the way from Seattle to NY in a big rig! Once we arrived, we worked on setting up the sculpture over 4 long days in a beautiful gallery in Chelsea. I can’t even tell you how strange it was for me, slaving away building and piecing together a concrete sculpture that weighed 6,000 pounds for 4 days straight while I watched these BEAUTIFUL girls sit at desks managing the gallery, curating, assisting the curator and so on. They were basically the dream of my childhood and I just could never be them. I felt kind of subhuman to them. I couldn’t tell if they thought it was cool or lame that a peer like me chose to work as an artist assistant, if they understood I worked hard to get there, if they maybe were envious of my job as I was envious of theirs, or they just thought they were fancier and part of a higher elite than me. It was a hard experience for me but at the same time humbling. I cannot be gifted in all areas of life, and I can’t receive every dream that enters my mind no matter how hard I may work at them. But I can be honest with myself and recognize the areas where I can do great things, and can work hard to achieve something. And I had to learn that by choosing a career MAKING art does not make me less of a smart and powerful girl than the girls who were able to pursue a career CURATING art.
I can’t tell if watching the show will put me back 2 years, back in those stupid jealous feelings of being unable to attain those dreams of being a gallery girl, or if it will remind me I was made for something else and that other thing is as equally valuable. Hopefully the latter :)
Are you going to watch this show? What did you want to be when you were little.