Carlos Betancourt (born San Juan, Puerto Rico 1966) is an American artist, generally described as a multi-disciplinary artist. His artworks explore issues of memory, and his own experiences, while also dwelling in issues of nature, the environment and matters of beauty, identity and communication. By means of re-examination, he recycles and reinterprets the past by delivering it in a fresh and new relevant context. Influenced by personal memories, he believes that art can be informed by one's own experiences, not necessarily the other way around.
Mr. Betancourt's artwork is part of public collections such as the Smithsonian' National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, San Antonio Museum of Art, Texas, New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana, Palm Springs Arts Museum, California, Bass Museum of Art, Florida, PAMM Perez Art Museum, Florida, Museo de Arte Ponde, Puerto Rico. His work is exhibited in various galleries as well as art fairs such as Art Basel and Arco. He is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the Florida Department of State Millennium Cultural Recognition Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, Bas-Fisher Invitational Grant, the Florida Prize on Contemporary Art People Choice Award, and the Miami Beach Arts Council Grant. He has worked as a curator, furniture designer and has collaborated in architectural and site-specific private and publicl commissions with architect Alberto Latorre.
In October 2015, ''Carlos Betancourt: Imperfect Utopia'' was published by Skira/Rizzoli.
Imperfect Utopia explores Betancourt's body of work with more than 250 images and text by Robert Farris Thompson, dean of the history of Art Department at Yale University, Inaugural poet Richard Blanco and writer and art critic Paul Laster. The artist has participated in several books signing in museums and institutions nationally and internationally, as well as dialogues with Richard Blanco, Warhol Museum chief curator Jose Diaz, and Bonnie Clearwater, director of NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, amongst others. The book was received to great success and is currently in the second printing. It was also selected as Art Book of the month by Interview magazine.
Re-Collections, a mid-career retrospective of the artist artworks, opened at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (MAC) in San Juan, Puerto Rico in November 2015. Spread through six different galleries and the Museum's main atrium, the exhibit included more than 50 works, including several installations, such as the recreation of En La Arena Sabrosa (2004), a floor piece consisting of hundreds of Dixie-cups sand castles made with sand and soil from the beaches and rivers of Puerto Rico. Like the book, the exhibit received excellent reviews and was selected as Art Forum Magazine Critic's Pick.
During Art Basel MB 2016, The Pelican Passage Tide by Side, a large artwork commissioned to the artist by Faena Arts District in celebration of the opening of Rem Koolhaas Faena Forum, was chosen as Condé Nast Vogue magazine top five Art Basel artworks.
In June, 2017, the artist was invited as a speaker for TEDxRVA TED Talks in Richmond, Virginia. The presentation, titled The Art of Memory, focused on the artist artwork and revolved around the theme of memory and change.
Carlos Betancourt IMPRINTED, an exhibition that includes works by the artist from 2001-2017 opened at the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona State College, Florida in November 2017. In June 2018, he won the Peoples Choice Award for his artwork installation and exhibit in the Florida Prize in Contemporary Art exhibition at the Orlando Art Museum.
In November 2021, the artist presented a large-scale digital projection in downtown Miami title Into the Everglades. The video was part of an effort with various non-for-profit organizations to promote the culture, flora and fauna of the Everglades and bring attention to the fragile and unique environemnt as well as the endangered Florida Panther. In December 2021, Milagros!, a temporal installation commissioned by the City of Miami Beach, was unveiled during Art Basel week. The installation is composed of hundreds of suspended metal elements inspired by ex-votos and tamata charms of Mexico and Greece. The sculptural elements were fabricated by local artiseans in Oaxaca, Mexico. Also in December 2021, the artist present What Lies Beneth: Tipping Point, which consited of a huge inflatable shaped as an iceberg, placed on a swiming pool. The fundrasing project for The Reefline, ( a future underwater public sculpture park and artificial snorkel reef ), was sponsored by Faena Arts and Algoram, curated by Ximena Caminos. These projects, as well as the artist recent artwork series titled Landscapes Re-Imagined (2020-21), were promenitely featured in an edtitorial in the New York Times on Nov, 24, 2021 written by Bret Sokol.
In the last year, and in collaboration with animator Milly Cohen, Betancourt has created several animated artworks, which have been auctioned as NFT's very successfully, donating a percentage of proceeds to the Reefline.
Betancourt was co-founder of 801 Projects, an arts studio center that provides studio space for visual artists based in Miami. He has been actively involved in the preservation of the Miami Marine Stadium, a mid century architectural masterpiece in Key Biscayne, Florida. He continues to find inspiration mainly from personal experiences and nature, including the Florida Everglades, the rainforest (El Yunque) in Puerto Rico and his travels particularly to Greece and Mexico.
Betancourt and Latorre established the Betancourt-Latorre foundation in 2017. A 501(c) non-for profit organization, its main goal is to help support artists based in Miami and the Caribbean basin. In October of the same year, the organization raised and collected supplies that were quickly donated to those affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. In 2020, the Betancourt-Latorre foundation awarded more than $30,000.00 in grants to artists that have been affected economically by the Covid-19 pandemic. The foundation is currently raising funds for its next project, South Beach: Art, Culture and the Last Undergorund, a book and exhibit focusing on the influential art and culture of Miami in the 1980's to the present.
The artist new studio, designed in collaboration with architect Alberto Latorre, is located in Little River, Miami Beach.