By Katarina Hybenova
“Hipster brunch is a late, low fi version of brunch in East Williamsburg,” said the ironic invitation from Rob de Oude from Camel Art Space. Last weekend was the final weekend for their current exhibition Narrative Ability (and Matthew Mahler and Andrew Zarou in the Project Space), and actually the final exhibition weekend for Camel Art Space as well. Indeed, Camel Art Space is moving from their current location on 722 Metropolitan to 1717 Troutman in Bushwick. I stopped by to check out the food art at Camel, and to chat with Rob de Oude and Enrico Gomez about their upcoming move.
One of the reasons for the move is that many galleries left the area and Camel became sort of an isolated animal in East Williamsburg. However, the main reason for the move is of practical nature. The building on Metropolitan Ave has become increasingly unstable. Leaks and other unsafe conditions are not the best spaces to store and exhibit art…That’s why Rob and his fellows from Camel didn’t hesitate to sign the lease at 1717 Troutman. Unlike other art spaces who are coming to Bushwick because of the increasing hype of the place in the art world, for Camel the move to Bushwick is more than natural. Not only does the space have more of a Bushwick than Williamsburg vibe, but Rob has lived in Bushwick for over six years and is actually happy that he can walk to his studio after several years of L train trouble.
Camel is not only moving their gallery but also their art studios. Rob said that the new space will be smaller, but they are welcoming the decrease of space as they want to focus on smaller and solo person art shows for the future, and get deeper into curation. They also want to exhibit more of their own work, as Camel Art Space was focusing mostly on big group shows and guest curators. Camel Art Space will be losing its name and is also leaving their mascot, the wood camel, behind. The camel came with the building, and no one would refer to the building differently as a result. The artists haven’t decided on the new name yet, and to my tiny disappointment, they ruled out animals from the selection [*sigh*]. The new space will be ready for the 1st show in April. We can’t wait!
Camel Art Space has been operating on Metroplolitan Ave since 2008, though Rob de Oude has been renting his studio in the building for at least 10 years. Camel Art Space started as a collective of artists who had studios in the building, and who were aspiring to curate group shows and to show their own work in the gallery space. Rob said that the decision to use the space at 722 Metropolitan as a gallery followed the recession peak of 2008, after which many galleries in Williamsburg had to close down. He felt like Camel has the necessary space and enthusiasm to fill in the sudden gap, and has been doing a great job since.
Welcome to Bushwick*, guys!
Correction, 1717 Troutman is one block into Ridgewood.