To begin with, could you tell us about your background and professional journey?
Clemente Brakel: Art has always been a significant influence in my life, with visits to museums, movies, theater, and music being an integral part of my upbringing. It is a passion that I have successfully turned into my profession.
I have been a lifelong learner, having obtained several degrees in the Netherlands, followed by pursuing a Ph.D. in Dutch Language and Literature at UC Berkeley. After a move from California to the East Coast, I decided to leave my studies and focus on raising my children. That break lasted for about ten years before I returned to my career again and since my interest was always in the arts, I followed several courses at Christie’s.
As I understand, your comeback was marked by the establishment of your own art consultancy. Is that correct? What motivated you and how did you proceed?
One of my friends in the US and one in the Netherlands, both photographers, knew about my interest in art and my education in the field. They suggested that I represent them as their art consultant, and that moment was a turning point for me. My children were growing up and becoming more independent, so I decided to take the plunge and establish my own art consultancy. I have not looked back since and have no regrets about that decision.
What is the concept of your gallery, NL=US Art, and how does it distinguish itself from other galleries and art consulting services?
We launched an art consultancy in 2012 and chose the name NL=US Art, where the first part stands for the Netherlands where I am from, and the second part for the US where I live. We have since expanded to include a group of international emerging and mid-career artists. I am proud of our diverse group of artists, which comprises a significant number of female(she/her) artists and around ten sculptors, making our roster unique. We do not limit ourselves to any particular media but represent artists from various backgrounds and demographics.
Our offices are in New Jersey and New York City where I spent most of my time, while our brick-and- mortar gallery is in Rotterdam. We recently relocated to a new gallery space situated in the center of the city. It is a historical building with ceiling paintings from the late 19th century, which form an interesting dialog with the contemporary art we show.