insider goods

What to Buy to Look Like: A Gallery Assistant

Photo: HBO

Status can be a funny thing. Of course its most obvious iteration comes with shiny hardware and easily recognizable logos, but it gets far more interesting as you narrow it down to the more opaque signals — when the way you tuck your shirt, or what you eat for breakfast, or your particular brand of notebook can mark you as in or out. And of course, what counts as a status item varies wildly across human tribes. In our new series Insider Goods, we’re talking to tribe members (some with their real names, some anonymously) to find out the status items among art-gallery assistants, or Broadway actors, or architects. Today, we start with a gallery assistant at Hauser & Wirth.

“Everyone who works at the front desk has these planners, each one of us in a different color. They’re leather-bound undated diary planners with blank pages and they say moment on the front. One girl had it and then we all got it. They’re exceptional.”

“We order all of the pens for the gallery, so we buy what we like to use ourselves. They’re not fancy or anything, but it’s the Pilot G-TEC-C4 0.4 mm. You have to write with one of these. They’re very fine-tipped and smooth and make this really clean, sharp line. People steal them from us and we’re constantly buying new ones. They’re just excellent writing pens.”

“Anything Pleats Please by Issey Miyake in black. It’s really not a myth that people in the art world wear black. These might not be exclusive to the art world, but they’re everywhere, I think because the tops and pants are both a mix of eccentric — they come in weird shapes — but still very minimalist and discreet. They’re flattering and odd and also really fucking comfortable and loose. I didn’t have any before I started here. They’ve been around for a long time so I was familiar with them, but I always thought they were kind of strange. Then I realized they were pretty awesome.”

There are only a few of these left, but here are more in navy and here is the black, straight-leg version.

“I personally don’t have these, but No. 6 clogs are for whatever reason extremely popular among art girls in both nonprofit and commercial galleries alike. Also those Belgian Shoes that are kind of like loafers. You used to only see them on old people. And of course Gucci fur slippers. Everyone has the Gucci slippers.”

“At the gallery we’re obsessed with Brodo, the broth place. They deliver to us on Postmates and it comes in in a coffee cup. It’s phenomenal because you can just drink it like coffee at the desk. One director, who’s fabulous, has it every morning for breakfast, so now we have it every morning for breakfast. So, yeah, we love bone broth.”

Higher Dose is this new sauna that uses infrared and color treatment. It’s a new wellness trend. It’s really strange, but people have been into that. You can go in groups, so this week I just learned about it because two different couples from the gallery went. You can plug in your music and it plays in the sauna. I’m trying it next week and very excited. Also, everyone goes to SoulCycle.”

“A gallery tote bag is essential. Hauser & Wirth has like 4 million tote bags and we all have them. It’s not very chic but it’s what we all wear. Right now I’m wearing one that says, ‘I want a dyke for president,’ which is text the artist Zoe Leonard wrote in 1992. Mansur Gavriel bags are still really popular too.”

“I was at another gallery once and I noticed that they also had the same white Simplehuman trash can as us. It’s not really that chic or an established thing, but it was funny to notice.”

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What to Buy to Look Like: A Gallery Assistant