wanderlust

Confessions Of A Gallery Girl Pt. 5: Secrets Of The Louvre

In your life you have that pinnacle you aim for – weight lifters: the trained Olympic gold; writers: a New York Times bestseller; the cast of Jersey Shore: dignity and class. I had managed through a friend of a friend to get a two week ‘Language Internship Exchange’ at The Louvre, totally identical to most: unpaid and yelled at by middle aged, hot-flushed women in polyester. Yes, this was my dream. And it was at the city of amour! The birthplace of fashion and pain au chocolat (let us not mention the four I just had for breakfast). I'd finish my make up trying to keep it au naturale and fresh, as I suspected the Marie Antoinette look carried a similar fate. And I would leave my sublet apartment – the square footage equivalent to that of a Louis Vuitton purse – and with my head held high, walk out the door and on through the marbled gates of hell.

The Duh-Vinci Code

Within moments upon entering the Louvre, breezing past security like a Ritz call girl, I was surrounded by thousands of years of history. Yet what interested me the most were my new colleagues, or as I liked to called them, "The Louverians." I imagined they had escaped from these prisons of cracked oil colors and varnish and now formed this cult of gold badged, blue-blazer-wearing creatures.

What did I get myself into? Performance by Joana Bastos – read about it here. Photo: Ding Musa

The first people I met (also the strangest) were Kerry and Connie. They were identical twins, not far from their fifties, who had been working in the locker room since 1982. They still lived with their father who deposited them every morning and collected them every night. A few days after my arrival, I suggested we played cards one evening – the response: "Sorry, we have a curfew." And then, out of nowhere and without context, Connie piped in, "There’s nothing more peaceful than a rabbit, I've never seen a rabbit attack anyone." It seems they were a few croissants short of a bakery. Needless to say, we never played cards.

Angels & Demons, But Mostly Demons

I was the 'Scully wing voyeur' – a nickname bestowed upon me by Vincent. Ah Vinny: a geeky video game playing boy, chest puffed out like a little overweight pigeon who, unlike his feathered brethren, was uninterested in the baguette crumbs nestled in French women's brassieres. There was only one thing on Vinny’s mind: unrelenting love for a handsome Cuban guard. Perhaps it was due to the influence of Eugène Delacroix’s painted romance or maybe like us all, he was a little bit lonely. Sadly, Vincent’s memorized Disney ballads and offerings of half-eaten sandwiches just weren’t working out.

I personally don't like to wear my heart on my sleeve. Performance by Jenna Kline. Photo: Christina Kruise

None of my encounters with Louverians were ever quite normal. Virgil, for example, he liked to kick things over that got in his way. It got to a point where we simply stopped picking up after him; once, an oscillating fan lied face down in the staff room for three days. My huge expectations were now trapped like the Mona Lisa in a small frame of disappointment. My colleagues were nut jobs. 

Dante’s Inferno

I was close to a breakdown until, seemingly, my day of saving came. A man, dressed like a knight in a cashmere suit, glided up to me to ask for help with a voice of burnt whiskey:

“I’ve been looking for The Barque of Dante. I can’t quite figure out which room it’s in.”

“Well Sir, that’s in the room adjacent."

“Thank you ever so much miss – also, do you like latex and having your photo taken?”

Is this what he had in mind? Artwork NOT on display in the Louvre – read bout it here. Photo: Chris Phillips

Excuse my French but, holy fuck. I don’t think I’ve sweated more profusely than that last metro ride home. Doors sliding shut with Guillotine precision and, like a homeless man amongst hipsters, I felt confused. What exactly had just happened? Was that real life? Working besides people who’s daily commentary was equivalently awkward as Jay-Z and Marina were physically. I climbed five flights of stairs; fought with the skeleton key in this asshole of a metal lock, and face planted myself on my clic-clac bed. I took a deep breath and screamed. Gallery Girl In Paris, week one over – now the question was: what did week two have in store?

Article by Anonymous Gallery Girl

Previous Confessions: Parts One, Two, Three & Four.