Carlos Betancourt (born San Juan, Puerto Rico 1966) is an American artist, generally described as a multi-disciplinary artist. His works explores issues of memory and his own experiences, while also dwelling in 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, and the Miami Beach Arts Council Grant. He has worked as a curator, furniture designer and has collaborated in architectural and site-specific commissions with architect Alberto Latorre in several large-scale public art commissions.
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.
Betancourt was co-founder of 801 Projects, an arts studio center that provides studio space for visual artists based in Miami. The artist is currently building his main studio in Little River, Miami Beach, designed in collaboration with architect Alberto Latorre. 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 on his travels, particularly in Greece, and the rainforest (El Yunque) in Puerto Rico. Betancourt and Latorre recently established the Betancourt-Latorre foundation, a soon to receive non-for profit status foundation that will help foster projects and ideas by artists based in Miami and the Caribbean. In October 2017, the organization raised and collected supplies that were quickly donated to those affected by the damage caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
"Art shall be liberated of the polemics of reason and perhaps appreciated under the realm of its secrets. My artworks explore issues of memory. By means of re-examination, I attempt to recycle the past and deliver it as a relevant, cohesive present. Fussing together nature, objects and re-collections, my artworks attempt to challenge the nature of nostalgia as well as narrative, questioning the limits of chronology in art."
- Carlos Betancourt