A Chat With Eli Klein
Maggie Schaffer and Liz Margulies' boss lets us know what he thinks about the show so far and the Gallery Girls as employees.
What would you say about how you’re portrayed in the show versus real life?
In real life I’m a much nicer person that I seem to be on TV. I’ve treated my interns very well over the years, and my gallery has as well. And our interns have moved on to terrific positions within the art world at Sotheby's or Christie’s or other galleries or museums, or even finding a full-time job at my gallery. We’ve provided a very exciting platform for our interns to gain experience in order to move onto other serious positions in the art world, and it’s something that we’re happy about and proud of.
What do you think about the rest of the show? What do you think about all the antics that don’t involve you?
It is very interesting for me to watch the show. I find the show hilarious. Some of the one-liners that some of the young women say are very amusing.
What do you think of the End of Century girls? What do you think of their model of business versus what you are doing?
The End of Century model of business certainly isn’t one typical within the mainstream art world. But it’s always very nice for me to see young people being entrepreneurs. And in the last episode where I said something like “congratulations on putting yourself out there,” I really mean that.
I’ve never been one to follow the mainstream. I prefer to create my own mainstream within the art world. It’s nice to see that they’re doing something unique and not typical. And while people are going to attack them for it, I don’t. They’re young people and I wish them the best of luck in everything in the future. And I think they’ll learn life lessons and business lessons just like everyone else will and eventually grow into a business that is successful in one way or the other.
If you had to choose one of the other girls from the show to fit in at Eli Klein, is there anyone? Would you hire any of the other Gallery Girls on as a full-time employee?
My gallery is geared really specifically towards Chinese contemporary art and as I have said on the show, I have a staff of experts in the field. In order for me to consider hiring someone, generally that is a pre-requisite, so it would be difficult for me to consider employing people that don’t fit that bill.
Anything else that you want to say about the show that viewers might not know?
I would say that what you don’t particularly get to see is Liz’s internship at my gallery. She did work extremely hard. She completed every tasks that I asked her to very quickly. She immediately responds to emails and texts on work-related issues, which is very important to me. She gained my trust over the period of her internship, and trust and loyalty with your staff is one of the most important things there is. My success in the business is for a large part based on my honesty and that clients trust me. I think that while Liz may be tough and while she can be all that, when push comes to shove she really is a trustworthy person. And that makes for a successful employee.