Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

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Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico
Carlos Betancourt: Re-Colecciones es la publicación acompañante de la exhibición
homónima organizada por el Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, San
Juan, Puerto Rico. / Carlos Betancourt: Re-Collections is published to accompany
the exposition organized by the Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art, San Juan,
Puerto Rico.
18 de noviembre de 2015 – 17 de abril de 2016 / November 18, 2015 – April 17, 2016
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico (MAC)
Edificio Histórico Rafael M. de Labra
Ave. Ponce de León, esquina Ave. Roberto H. Todd, Parada 18, Santurce
PO Box 362377 San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936-2377
www.mac-pr.org
Todos los derechos reservados. Esta publicación no podrá reproducirse ni transmitirse
total ni parcialmente de forma alguna, ya sea electrónica o mecánica, sin la
autorización por escrito del publicador. / All rights reserved. No part of this publication
may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or
mechanical, without prior written permission from the publisher.
© 2016 Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Critical essay by Cheryl Hartup
Guest Curator
Rock, waterfall, and wind, and a figure crouching still--all these of one mind.1
Cheryl Hartup
“Human beings and objects are indeed bound together in a collusion in which the objects take on a
certain density, an emotional value - what might be called a ‘presence’.”2
Jean Baudrillard, The System of Objects
“The experience of creating art in general can be as simple and as fulfilling as picking up seashells.”
Carlos Betancourt
Return
What would an exhibition of the things you cherish look like? In Carlos Betancourt: Re-Collections, the
artist recycles the past and celebrates its eternal renewal in the present. Betancourt’s subjects are the
spiritual aliveness and cross-cultural poetics of people, places, materials and objects. He combines
and transforms these elements into modern-day offerings that link the material world and immaterial
time, sensation and memory. The artist’s mixed media works embody and extend many of the
prevalent themes in contemporary art of the last thirty years--the body and nature, the archive and
strategies of display, beauty and popular culture, spirituality and identity, memory and history--and
some less common subjects like family, and the concept of home.
Betancourt’s personal journey--physical, emotional, and intellectual--is the creative force behind his
work. Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Cuban parents, he developed a love for wild nature
and a passionate interest in the island’s Taíno past and Afro-Caribbean culture and traditions. In
addition, the way “[p]eople live artistically in Puerto Rico in an unconscious way” deeply impressed
him.3 Like the place where he grew up, Betancourt’s work is a syncretic layering of information where
popular culture clashes against the intensity of the lush tropics. It is fitting that his first retrospective
museum exhibition is taking place in San Juan, the city where he first studied painting under Jorge
Rechany (1914-1990), and where he bought his first camera, a Canon AE-1, with three years of
savings.
From the Enchanted Island, Betancourt’s family moved to the Magic City where he continued to study
art and embrace the optimism of tropical midcentury architecture. He participated in the initiatives of the
Miami Design Preservation League, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Surrounded Islands project (1983),
and Miami Beach’s mainstream and underground art scene in the 1980s and 1990s. Betancourt started
his career with the founding of Imperfect Utopia around 1989. In this storefront studio and gallery on
Lincoln Road where he lived and worked, he produced mixed media paintings and sculptures,
happenings, and furniture.
Imperfect Utopia attracted a wide range of visitors and characters from burlesque legend, Frances
Smith, and the switchboard operator at the Lincoln Road Hotel, Mary Joe, to Sandra Bernhard, Celia
Cruz, Audrey Hepburn, Rudolph Nureyev, Morris Lapidus, Keith Haring, Octavio Paz, Linda
Evangelista, and Julian Schnabel, just to name a few. This trans-cultural convergence of inspiring
individuals appeared again in Betancourt’s sensational line-up of costumed friends and family in The
Cut Out Army (2006), The Hedge (2007) and The (Last) Supper (2008). A block from Imperfect Utopia
was the main building of ArtCenter/South Florida, founded in 1984. Betancourt became a member of
the organization and he formed lasting friendships with many of the resident artists.
3
One of the most exciting events for the artist was the discovery of The Miami Circle at the mouth of the
Miami River. It was a sacred place, believed to be between 1700 and 2000 years old, where one could
honor Miami’s past. In 1998, after an apartment complex was torn down to make way for a new luxury
condominium development, archeologists discovered the remains of a circular structure thirty-eight
feet in diameter built by the Tequesta Indians. Tools, human teeth, a dolphin skull and a complete shark
skeleton and turtle shell, among other items, were found at the site. Betancourt’s involvement in the
excavation of archeological artifacts at The Miami Circle likely influenced the form and concept of his
Sound Symbols (2000), Interventions in Nature series (2001-2002), Re-Collections series (2008-2011)
and Untitled (broken objects) (20014-2015). His artwork is a continuous exploration of what we learn
by touching the primordial past in the digital age.
Since the early 1990s, Betancourt has made mixed media works that involve found and collected
objects, the body in the landscape, and collaged images. His supports range from canvas, paper and
vinyl, to skin, nature and architecture. He works often in bright Caribbean daylight with electric colors.
Betancourt creates synchronic relations within and across cultures by commingling the vitalizing forces
of body, spirit, nature and object. He activates the known and the unknown in sites of penetrable
opacities--the forest, the ocean, petroglyph carvings and bodies covered with mirror writing. He shares
the Martinican writer and theoretician, Édouard Glissant’s belief that “...the past resides in material
objects that only release their hidden meanings when encountered imaginatively and sensuously.”4 In
Betancourt’s work, mass-produced and unique objects, and their related memories, participate in a
feast of infinite metamorphosis.
Carlos Betancourt: Re-Collections, is the artist’s first one-person museum exhibition of works made
from 2001 to 2015. For the most part, this essay follows the order of the artworks on view in the
installation at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo. My thoughts about Betancourt’s art have been
shaped by my experiences of his work in Miami since 2000, our conversations and visits, and several
texts we selected including Robert Farris Thompson’s Flash of the Spirit: African and Afro-American Art
and Philosophy (First Vintage Books Edition, 1984), Jean Baudrillard’s The System of Objects (1996),
Édouard Glissant’s Caribbean Discourse: Selected Essays (1989) and Poetics of Relation (1997) and
Photography Theory edited by James Elkins (2007).
Interventions in space and time are part of Betancourt’s practice and I encouraged him to casually
insert personal objects in the galleries to break the formality of the installation. I wanted to give the
viewer a feeling for the environment where the artist lives and works and all that inspires him. Because
Betancourt activates fragmentation and diversity to counter history as a linear progression, I juxtaposed
works from different periods and series to generate new meanings among objects and images. In
addition, the artist wanted to exhibit his large-scale prints on vinyl in an entirely new way. He chose to
overlap and suspend the works in the museum’s inner courtyard, thus evoking photographs drying in a
dark room, laundry hanging in the sun, and the popular libros de cordel, inexpensive printed booklets
of poetry displayed along a cord for sale.
Reunite
Carlos Betancourt: Re-Collections begins with the artist inviting us into the heart of his universe--his
home in El Portal, a neighborhood near North Miami. From the moment we enter his world, it is clear
he has a passion for knowledge that roams free and makes connections. Through his creative
imagination, we are at many places at once.
4
El Portal I, 2011
Courtesy of CB Pelican, Inc.
In his large color photographs from the El Portal series, Betancourt creates a synthesizing space of
interior and exterior, landscape and architecture, rootedness and open vistas, and the dynamic
euphoria of travel and the static joys of domestic life.5 He calls upon nature and fully realized signs of
the past to exude their sacred essence in a modern, functional environment. His fondness for
appropriation and layering of information--ancient artifacts, slick advertising, mid-century design, the
spontaneous gestures of graffiti and the body in flight--feed his creative enterprise. Like the collages
and assemblages of Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008), he brings together disparate elements from
“...the messy and rich condition of contemporary American life…”.6
In El Portal II, memory is triggered not only by the smells and tastes of food, but also by family
snapshots and mementos. Objects that appear here take on new life in other works. For instance, a
carved wooden African head floating at the top of the photograph once belonged to Alberto Latorre,
who is seen eating in the kitchen, and his family. This sculpture was particularly significant to the
Latorre’s because it was the only cultural object that Alberto Latorre’s father acquired during his foreign
military service. For Betancourt, the article represented is as important as the actual thing, and it is
necessary to transform objects so they can create new meanings. Betancourt asked permission of
Latorre to paint the African head turquoise blue and he featured it prominently in Shopping Cart Atomic.
Thus, among the inexpensive, mass-produced kitsch items in the cart are unique handmade sculptures
that are family treasures. Betancourt, like Jean Baudrillard in The System of Objects, suggests that
consumption is an abstract relationship, a manipulation of signs.7 As Baudrillard concludes at the end
of his cultural critique of the commodity in consumer society, “So what is consummated and consumed
is never the object but the relationship itself, signified yet absent, simultaneously included and
excluded; it is the idea of the relationship that is consumed in the series of objects that displays it.”8
5
The merging of architecture and design, nature and objects in the El Portal color photograph series is
given three-dimensional form in the baroque assemblages of Portrait of a Garden. Constructed in
collaboration with architect Alberto Latorre, this series of columns, painted Klein international blue, are
twenty-first century fanciful and impractical garden folly decorations. As Betancourt describes, they
were inspired during a trip to Los Angeles when “I noticed a nursery and garden shop. The salesman
had displayed many faux columns at random, each with an irrelevant faux sculpture on top... I thought
it was very ‘Lapidus,’ as in architect Morris Lapidus, who was a friend from the Imperfect Utopia days.”9
Lapidus’ extravagant and delightfully mad architecture of the Fontainebleau and Eden Roc hotels,
Miami’s diverse design styles, and the many oddities the artist sees displayed in the front yards of
homes in Puerto Rico, have influenced Betancourt’s free-spirited forms that mix high and low culture.10
In the first gallery of Carlos Betancourt: Re-Collections, in addition to works from the El Portal and
Portrait of a Garden series, are items the artist selected from his cabinets of curiosities and his
extensive archives of Miami’s culture scene dating back to the 1980s.11 These memory theaters,
located next to his library, studio and computer, accompany Betancourt during the thinking and creating
process. For Carlos Betancourt: Re-Collections, the artist intuitively selected dozens of objects that
have marked his history and he displayed them like a personal time capsule, a kind of self-portrait. The
ephemera and mementos from all stages of his life include a plastic daisy clock from his childhood,
newspaper obituaries, African sculpture and Maasai jewelry, vintage postcards and Interview
magazines, Haitian beaded bottles, a place setting from Miami’s Fontainebleau hotel, a Huichol beaded
skull, and his grandmother’s cloth doll. In his mixed media works, cabinets of curiosities and archives,
Betancourt builds sites where the collective experience finds articulation.
Respond
The earliest works in Carlos Betancourt: Re-Collections date from 2001, when Betancourt began
making performative and documentary photographic images that probe the naked vulnerability of life
and death. He covered his body, and the bodies of others, with historical texts written backwards and
forwards, stylized signs, indigenous symbols and bright powdery pigments and glitter. Then he
photographed the figure in nature, focusing on the head, torso, and hands. Betancourt printed the
images in two formats--color photographs on light sensitive paper and large vinyls, as big as fourteen
feet by twenty feet. Viewers have described the latter work as cinema screens, advertising banners,
and paintings.
The first image Betancourt printed on vinyl was Self Portrait with Letter to Bartolomé de las Casas
where he wrote illegible passages from Bartolomé de las Casas’ A Short Account of the Destruction of
the Indies (1552) on his body. In this text, the sixteenth-century Spanish historian and Dominican friar
denounced the atrocities committed by the European colonists against the indigenous peoples of the
Caribbean and the Americas.12 Betancourt photographed his face upside down, eyes open, and his
tongue sticking out to communicate perhaps that he does not accept the world as it looks and he does
not want photography to manage or tame a difficult experience.13 Like de las Casas living amidst the
Native Americans, we bring our own history to Self Portrait with Letter to Bartolomé de las Casas. We
may feel both an authority over the image and alienation from the print on vinyl.14 Betancourt’s
photographic works are a sign of his investment in the sending of a message of relation to the past,
present, and future. Their dynamic production transcends their immobility and silence.15
6
Self Portrait with Letter to Bartolomé de las Casas conflates ideas about death, strength, and ancestors
in Kongo culture. As Robert Farris Thompson explains in Flash of the Spirit: African and Afro-American
Art and Philosophy, these three concepts are present in the inversion of vessels on graves in many
Kongo and Afro-American cemeteries. “Indeed, the verb ‘to be upside down’ in Ki-Kongo also means
‘to die.’ Moreover, inversion signifies perdurance, as a visual pun on the superior strength of the
ancestors, for the root of bikinda, ‘to be upside down, to be in the realm of the ancestors, to die’ is
kinda, ‘to be strong,’ ‘because those who are upside down, who die, are strongest.’”16
Betancourt made Self Portrait with Letter to Bartolomé de las Casas in response to the haunting
painting, We Have to Dream in Blue (1986), by Arnaldo Roche Rabell (b. 1955). Rabell’s self-portrait
features a face covered with the dark, decomposing floor of the forest, which appears to be both soft
and prickly. He has piercing blue eyes, and sealed lips. Both artists present themselves as sites of
solitude and solidarity, remembering and forgetting, where the complexity of personal and collective
experiences converge. The artistic expressions of Betancourt and Rabell are a means for
comprehending and transcending the powers that periodically threaten to dissolve a people.
Receive
Betancourt tempers the weight of history with the forces of ancestor spirits, new life, light, color, and
mystery. These energies pulsate through the body and flow through the hands like blood coursing
through the veins.
Apito and Ashes with Letters to Alberto, 2001
(from the series Worshipping of My Ancestors)
Collection Rochelle and Steve Lanster
7
For Apito and Ashes with Letter to Alberto, Betancourt placed a mound of earth on his chest and above
it is a large glittering yellow and blue sign inspired by the Hopi. The artist looks to his left hand which
holds his grandmother’s ashes. For Glissant and Betancourt, relation is spoken multilingually, and the
ability for language diasporas to endure involves “the shimmer of variety,” “fluid equilibrium” and
“linguistic sparkle” not monolingual prejudice.17 What are the Names of your Brothers Caracaracol?
shows a pregnant woman holding her womb. This may be the Taíno goddess Itiba Cahubaba who died
while giving birth to quadruplets. She was able to name her firstborn Deminán Caracaracol, before she
passed away, but the other three brothers remained unnamed. In Alberto and Cucubano from the
series Interventions at Hobe Sound I, a figure cradles flaming orange blossoms and a bright white
flower. Perhaps this is Deminán Caracaracol holding the secret of fire which he and his brothers stole
from their grandfather, Bayamanaco. The luminous green glyph on his chest is the color of the light
emitted by the cucubano, a species of click beetle native to Puerto Rico.
In Ceiba Tree in the River, we see neither a silk-cotton tree, nor a river, however, the artist’s hand and
arm, close to the earth, evokes the two elements metaphorically. The purple pigment in his palm, and
his fingers, suggests soil and roots, and the arrows drawn on his arm, pointing upward, convey a strong
current. Centuries ago, Puerto Rico’s indigenous peoples considered the ceiba tree to be sacred and
they continue to be national landmarks. In the history of art on the island, many artists have represented
this subject, perhaps the most famous being Francisco Oller’s The Ponce Silk-Cotton Tree (ca.
1887-88). In Betancourt’s work, the ground is “littered” with broken objects--a ceramic vessel, plastic
toys, a small wicker chair. The image seems to ask, where do we find redemption in our own detritus?
But what looks like debris, is in fact Afro-Cuban Santería offerings at a sacred site.
Betancourt’s engagement with universal spiritual practices activates his cultural roots. Interventions
with Aracoel’s Objects features the personal items of his grandmother. (“Aracoel” is the Taíno word for
grandmother.) The installation and the photographic and video documentation of the artist’s
performance among these objects, are an homage to “Aracoel’s” character and a sign of honor and
respect.18 The installation combines traditions and beliefs from Kongo, Kongo-American and Yoruba
culture. In Flash of the Spirit, Thompson states that “...Kongo and Kongo-American tombs are
frequently covered with the last objects touched or used by the deceased...” in order to safely ground
the spirit.19 Furthermore, things that glitter and sparkle, like a falling star or tin foil, intimate the flash of
the departed spirit, as well as attract the spirit.20 Arranged on a raft of earth, these domestic objects
could be floating in a mythical underworld river.
In his first chapter on Yoruba culture, Thompson discusses how mystic coolness (itutu), symbolically
represented by the color blue or indigo, is a revered character trait. It signifies someone who lives
“...generously and discreetly, exhibiting grace under pressure… [and] confidence to cope with all kinds
of situations.”21 Betancourt covered his grandmother’s objects with blue glitter, “...the color of heaven,
the color evil can’t cross…” to empower them.22 Included among these domestic items is a flat, rounded,
stylized indigenous glyph. This object relates to Sound Symbols, a three-hundred-foot-long temporary
public art installation that Betancourt made, in collaboration with Alberto Latorre and fifty volunteers, on
Miami Beach in 2000. Betancourt and his team fabricated and painted 2,500 wooden symbols, mostly
African and Taino, and placed them in the sand. Together they made one symbol that read best from
the sky.
For his works titled Hood on the Hood, Betancourt conducted a series of interventions in Miami’s
Wynwood neighborhood at the height of its dramatic transformation from a sketchy no man’s land to an
upscale cultural district in 2003. His choice of objects for his color photographs and
installations--skateboards, tennis shoes, a gun, a black hooded sweat jacket, a graffiti-covered
bench--relate to youth street culture, and are tinged by the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2012.
8
In Hood on the Hood: Tennis Shoes installation, Betancourt covered the tennis shoes, skateboard and
gun that hang on a line, like an electrical wire crossing a street, with red glitter. Whereas blue signals
correct character in Yoruba culture, red communicates potentiality, a vital force, and the
“power-to-make-things-happen.” It signals something intense and extraordinary, here, now.
Retrace
After Betancourt moved to Miami in 1981, he continued to visit Puerto Rico regularly, and since 1998,
he has produced work annually on the island, sometimes at the same sites where, as a boy, he
vacationed with his family. In 2005, he rented the same beach house in Rincón where the family would
stay during the summer. They hadn’t been there in over thirty years. While staying at the vacation
rental, Betancourt produced a series of color photographs called the Rincón Flamboyant Series.
Family Portrait with my Cousin, the Flamenco Dancer, Nietzsche y Paya Paya
(from the series Rincón, Flamboyant), 2005
Courtesy of CB Pelican, Inc.
9
The works read like campy mise-en-scènes with sexual and religious overtones. Tobias has caught a
magical fish, and he may need to use its power to drive out his own demons. St. Sebastian, tied to a
palm tree, is covered with red Maltese Cruz flowers instead of arrows. Rather than gazing heavenward,
his head is down, his eyes are closed, and he appears to be under a spell cast by the Houdini at his
side.
Family Portrait is the first artwork to feature Betancourt, his parents, and his partner Alberto Latorre.
Local fruits, flowers, green vegetation, food, drink, and shells are irresistible subjects for the artist, and
he adorns or accessorizes his figures excessively with the bounties of Puerto Rico’s land and seas like
still-life offerings to the viewer, as well as to the gods. Although family members are together, each one
is lost in his or her own revery, hiding behind sunglasses, fans, snorkeling goggles and masks. In this
individual and collective creative daring, Betancourt’s masked figures, like Glissant, believe in “...the
importance of this plunge into primordial chaos as a means of both confronting self and interacting with
the community.”23
Many of Betancourt’s favorite memories as a youth in Puerto Rico occurred during his adventures in
nature, and he regularly reconnects with the power and beauty of the island’s oceans, rain forest and
Taíno sacred sites. In Guabanex - Río Blanco and Petroglyphs and Surfer Shorts in Río Blanco the
body becomes a modern-day petroglyph alongside the ancient carvings. In Top of the Three Pointer,
the shape of the figure approximates that of the rock and they both become Taíno cemís, symbolic
representations of a god, spirit or ancestor.
Top of the Three Pointer (from the series Vieques and Rincón), 2004
Collection Jiménez Colón
10
Like the artist Ana Mendieta (1948-1985), who impressed her body literally and figuratively upon the
landscape to recreate a sense of belonging, nature is an extension of the body in Betancourt’s work.
In Vejigante in Río Blanco, Betancourt gathers disperse sticks into a bundle and ties them to the front
of his subject’s head, thus suggesting the Vejigante’s demonic sharp teeth and copious horns. With this
creative approach, the artist links nature and culture, a vital combination for the formation of a collective
consciousness. In Guabanex - Río Blanco, Betancourt melds his crouched body into an indentation in
a rock next to a petroglyph of the goddess of the wind. Mendieta carved her own representations of this
deity, and several other Taíno goddesses, into the limestone walls of two caves at Las Escaleras de
Jaruco, a national park outside Havana, Cuba.24 Betancourt and Mendieta search out stubborn
shadows that allow for the exploration of one’s ancestral past, to counteract total dislocation and
depersonalization.25
In Poetics of Relation Glissant urges that a “...passion for the land where one lives is...an action we
must endlessly risk.”26
Sunday Afternoon in El Yunque, 2008
Courtesy of Carlos Betancourt
In Sunday Afternoon in El Yunque, the Greek-shaped vase in the foreground suggests that we have
arrived at Puerto Rico’s Mount Olympus and the temple of the god of abundant vegetation and
intoxicatingly fragrant flowers. Betancourt’s combination of figure and tropical fruit, in this image, as
wellas in Family Portrait, inserts these works into Puerto Rico’s visual history. The presence of these
11
“exotic” yet typical delights of the land extends from the eighteenth-century portrait paintings of José
Campeche, to Francisco Oller’s nineteenth-century still lifes, to Ramón Frade’s iconic early
twentieth-century jíbaro (peasant), to the present. Betancourt treats these stereotypical, yet iconic
elements, like a bunch of plantains, as proud symbols of national culture, rather than as socio-political
critique. His dazzling use of accumulation, expansion, and the power of history, combined with his
command of composition, color and shape, imbues the work with an arresting presence.
The camera’s perspective moves from one of adoration on a mountain top to a bird’s eye view of a
small clearing in the forest. In The Enchanted Forest, a female nude seated on a bench holding bright
red heliconias and surrounded by lush green vegetation exudes the wonder of discovering a rare
metallic longhorn beetle in the duff. Both the tamed and the untamed inhabit this place of becoming.
From masked baroque irreverence in his Rincón Flamboyant series to naked inward transcendence in
the El Yunque rain forest, Betancourt’s primordial exuberant language is a conscious expression of
Caribbeanness.
The artist’s approach to art always engages the senses before it centers in the mind. His explorations
of the utopian yearnings of our time merge the body with sacred space and the sights, sounds, smells,
touch and tastes of nature. Hand-print honors Betancourt’s practice that engages touch, slow time,
circular motion, and starting from a center that moves outward.
Back Stories at Hobe Sound, Jupiter Island (Q) shows a red bromeliad coming out of the artist’s mouth
like a Mesoamerican speech scroll. Betancourt becomes a modern-day Nezahualcoyotl (1402-1472),
Back Stories at Hobe Sound,
Jupiter Island (Q), 2004
Collection Mr. & Mrs. J.Z. Duke
12
ancient Mexico’s greatest lyric poet, reciting one of his flower songs, perhaps seeking a favor from the
gods or giving thanks. In contrast, Vieques, a photograph of a figure contemplating a coconut, is a more
enigmatic image. Is this the island’s patroness wearing a towel to protect herself from radiation, a
metaphor for our silent, empty response to morbid unreason, or, just the opposite, our ability to study
what we typically chose to ignore?
Castro in Triumphant Advance to Havana
(from the series Interventions in Nature IV), 2001
Courtesy of Carlos Betancourt
Like a surrealist photo-collage, Castro in Triumphant Advance to Havana is a curious condensation of
visual pleasure and mental exercise. In Betancourt’s work, art resides in the object itself, as well as the
meanings we embed in it. The print on vinyl is a composite image of a large eye--a detail Betancourt
tore from a magazine advertisement--and a female nude covered with the sacred signs of Cuban
Abakuá, called anaforuana, as well as invented signs, symbols, and illegible words drawn by the artist.
The title of the work comes from the cover of the January 19, 1959, issue of Life magazine, from which
Betancourt removed his found object--the eye.
13
Castro in Triumphant Advance to Havana generates discussions about photography’s multiplicity and
adaptability. What does this work tell us when we explore it as an object, a practice, its function? How
does photography operate ideologically, politically, and psychologically in society? Siegfried Kracauer,
a German writer and cultural critic, believed that photography had a potentially revolutionary role. As
the masses are bombarded with photography’s accumulated emptiness, a process of disenchantment
and change would begin. As he wrote in 1927, “In the illustrated magazines, people see the very world
that the illustrated magazines prevent them from perceiving.”27 The open eye from the advertisement
and the closed eyes of the figure suggest also Walter Benjamin’s idea of the “unconscious” where
things are visible “...to the camera eye and the unconscious eye but invisible to the waking eye...” which
he purported in his 1931 essay “A Little History of Photography.”28 Perhaps Betancourt’s large eye
suggests that “...seeing is not the same as being critically conscious of what one sees.”29
Recreate
Andy Warhol (1928-1987) said he was not a “creator” of art, but a “re-creator,” and both Warhol and
Betancourt are “re-creators” of popular culture. Whereas Warhol erased differences between high and
low art with his intensions, Betancourt blurs distinctions between the two by mixing mass-produced
kitsch, functional products, and original, handmade articles with fresh improvisation.
Shopping Cart Atomic, 2011
Courtesy of CB Pelican, Inc.
14
In works like Cakes Atomic (made with the assistance of architect Alberto Latorre) and Shopping Cart
Atomic, Betancourt seeks out the unique, the folkloric, the exotic, and the antique, and he arranges
objects in uncanny and ludic ways. He selects items for their secrets, mysteries, and maximal
meanings, real or suggested. As Baudrillard states in The System of Objects, these types of material
things “...answer to other kinds of demands such as witness, memory, nostalgia or escapism...They are
a way of escaping from everyday life, and no escape is more radical than escape in time, none so
thoroughgoing as escape into one’s own childhood.”30
Betancourt, like Andy Warhol, examines the intriguing synergy between art and appropriation,
materialism and narcissism, consumerism and self-expression. His Shopping Cart Atomic and Cakes
Atomic question the meaning of freedom and individualism, and the roles of gratification and repression
in our consumer society. The titles of the works, their ball-and-stick molecular model details, and drips,
suggestive of chemical sludge, allude to the Atomic Age.31 This period, known for its optimism and
anxiety and peace through annihilation, adds another layer of paradox to the art. Is Shopping Cart
Atomic an example of the aphorism of artist Barbara Kruger (b. 1945) in her work, UNTITLED (I SHOP
THEREFORE I AM), from 1987? Are creativity and self-expression indistinguishable from buying
things? Do we lose or gain our sense of self with our objects? Although Betancourt is ever the optimist,
his sculptures remain ambiguous because they appear to simultaneously criticize and celebrate their
provocative themes.
As a counterpoint to Shopping Cart Atomic and Cakes Atomic, Untitled (After September, Red Face)
also embodies the intense dichotomies of empowerment and fear. This large, striking vinyl of a woman
pulsates affliction and a formidable supreme presence. Her skin is covered with a network of black and
blue frenetic lines and geometric shapes, and a layer of red sand which signifies the giving and taking
of life. For Betancourt, red “...is the color of blood, energy, desire, war, power. It is a very emotionally
charged color and anything with emotion is alive.”32 This work is part of a series Betancourt produced
in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. In every image a figure is covered with or partially
immersed in sand, which evokes the deadening silence of ash-covered bodies. Untitled (After
September, Red Face) is particularly haunting, and hopeful perhaps, because it is the only face in the
series that returns the gaze of the spectator.
Reflect
The act of re-collecting started very early for Betancourt. During his youth, his family moved quite often,
and among the few belongings they took with them each time were photo albums. Because of this, he
has always valued snapshots as generators of memory. Betancourt missed the objects he grew up with,
and, as a young adult, he went in search of the mass-produced items he saw in the family photographs,
like glass Christmas tree ornaments. Whenever he found something that he remembered from his
childhood for sale, he acquired it.
For his Re-Collections series, which he conceived in El Yunque, he created a clip-art collection of
personal photographs and possessions, and he used the small pictures to make intricate collages. The
earliest Re-Collections are dynamic explosions--or implosions--of friends, family, objects, flowers, and
shells.
15
Re-Collections VIII, 2009
Collection of Museo de Arte de Ponce
The Luis A. Ferré Foundation, Inc. Ponce, Puerto Rico
They embody the pleasures of memory and the joys of relation. Each image seems to be linked to a
particular experience, place, or moment in time. As we saw in his El Portal series, Betancourt is moved
by the clash of urban life against the backdrop of nature, and collage is a way for him to re-examine and
organize the world around him and to solve the composition of an artwork. The later Re-Collections are
symmetrical designs, reminiscent of kaleidoscopes, full of light and multiple reflections. In these works,
objects appear to have been selected for their shape and texture, however, every item holds a special
significance for Betancourt, like material culture at an archeological site. Every subject is an object, and
every object is a subject. As Baudrillard states in The System of Objects, “For what you really collect is
always yourself.”33
Gold is another important color for the artist, like blue and red. When he uses it, it communicates power,
status, luxury, wealth, prestige, and the sun. In Wall Assemblages of Things Past (for Alberto Latorre)
Betancourt used gold paint to transform and elevate a modest chandelier and inexpensive wall
decorations. These “trivial,” “tasteless” ornaments could be found in the homes of working-class
Americans, the subjects of artist Duane Hanson (1925-1996). Betancourt’s choice of objects and color
express a sympathy for the human condition. Like Hanson, he is interested in reconnecting art with the
overlooked in everyday life. Here, gold communicates beauty, value, endurance, warmth and a rare
preciousness. The square patches of gold tiles, streaked textured surfaces, and drips like stalagmites
at the bottom of the painted wood panel reference duration and the passage of time.
16
Release
Betancourt’s most recent series of photographs, Untitled (broken objects), presents images of objects
falling and shattering on top of one another, one at a time. Intermittently, the artist poured different
colors of paint over the layers of fractured and crushed shards. In these bursts of fragmented particles,
Betancourt multiplies the energy, power, and memories embedded in the objects, and transforms them
into layers of brightly colored pigments, like those he applied to the body in 2001. As Betancourt
disassembles things and puts them back together in new ways, he shows us how photography can
recycle the past and present it as a cohesive present.
Untitled (broken objects), 2014-2015
Collection J.Johnson Gallery
17
In the Pleasant Sand and Intersection from the series Interventions in Nature VI, Blanco, communicate,
once again, the importance of relation through presence and absence, inscription and erasure. A field
of small uniform sand castles and a color photograph of the shifting the edge of the sea are pregnant
sites where every periphery becomes a center. In Interventions in Nature Series, VI (Blanco), we see
three moments in time that seem to play continuously, like a film loop. The figure in the surf is poet
Richard Blanco, a long-time friend of the artist and Alberto Latorre.34 In this mutual mutation of ocean
and body, knowledge of one’s inner and outer ecologies comes from remembering and forgetting. As
the past, written on Blanco’s body, dissolves in the sea, he is left with the trace of a new sensual,
spiritual and healing experience. The breaking waves give him memories on the outer edge of space
and time.
En la arena sabrosa, 2015
Site specific installation at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico
18
With In the Pleasant Sand, an ephemeral installation, Betancourt, like Glissant, suggests that
“[k]nowledge lies in walking away from these complacent mental spaces and plunging into the vortex
of ritual.”35 Like Untitled (broken objects), the artist gives expression to the transgression of
delimitations. The sandcastles will go through a cycle of composition, decomposition, and
recomposition. Will we demand our right to be freely moving and disturbing the pleasant sand and not
a passive observer on the sidelines? Will we clamor to crush its homogeneous nature and leave our
unique imprint in a burst of unity? Untitled (broken objects), In the Pleasant Sand and Intersection
communicate ideas of fragility and malleability, the individual and the collective, consistency and
change, gathering and scattering, reinvention and renewal. These concepts are relevant to
Betancourt’s life, art, the places he travels to regularly, like the Greek Isles, and the places he calls
home--San Juan and Miami. He respects and embraces all that surrounds him, and as objects, bodies,
and thoughts collide, he shapes new understandings that transcend their specific localities.
The life/art of Carlos Betancourt is an organic flow of fleeting relations that cycle back and reverberate
over time. He confronts the self, and, simultaneously, seeks out global interconnections. Like the
intimate and brutally honest art of Tracey Emin (b. 1963), that transforms a private feeling into a
sublime expression of human emotion, Betancourt’s work also expands from the personal to the
universal. He is not afraid to title his work Of Things Past How Much I Love You. This sculpture dripping
deep blue, is both rooted and open, a relic pulled from the ocean, from history. As Betancourt explores
the past and the present, art, memory, relation, material culture, nature, and ancient principles in a
zone of convergence, we look for our own deep renewable energy sources that can last forever, like
the sea.
Endnotes
1
The title of this piece of writing was inspired by Marsden Hartley’s poem Return of the Native on page three of Selected
Poems Marsden Hartley, edited and introduced by Henry W. Wells, and published by The Viking Press in New York in
October 1945.
2
Jean Baudrillard, The System of Objects, trans. James Benedict, rev. ed. (Brooklyn: Verso, 2005), 14.
3
“Carlos Betancourt Q and A,” interview with Brandi Reddick, unpublished document.
Édouard Glissant, Caribbean Discourse: Selected Essays, trans. and ed. J. Michael Dash, 3rd ed. (Charlottesville:
University Press of Virginia, 1999), xxxv.
4
5
Baudrillard, The System of Objects, 71.
6
Charles Wylie, “Robert Rauchenberg, Skyway” in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection (Hong Kong: C & C
Offset Printing Co., Ltd., 1997), 280.
7
Baudrillard, The System of Objects, 217-218.
8
Ibid., 219.
9
Paul Laster, “Interview with Carlos Betancourt,” in Carlos Betancourt: Imperfect Utopia, ed. Petra Mason (New York: Rizzoli
International Publications, Inc., 2015), 70.
10
“Carlos Betancourt Q and A,” interview with Brandi Reddick, unpublished document.
11
My natural reaction to Betancourt’s archive was to ask who is building research capacity for the history of art in Puerto
Rico? Where are these archives located, and how can they serve our creative imagination?
12
Bartolomé de las Casas later advocated for the importation of African slaves to compensate for the decreasing native
population.
13
James Elkins, ed., Photography Theory, New Ed ed. (New York: Routledge, 2007), 19. These ideas are discussed by
Susan Sontag in her essay “In Plato’s Cave” in her book On Photography published in 1977.
19
14
Ibid., 32-33. These ideas are discussed by Victor Burgin in his essay “Photography, Phantasy, Function” in Thinking
Photography edited by Burgin and published in 1982.
15
Ibid., 29. These ideas are discussed by Allan Sekula in his essay “On the Invention of Photographic Meaning” in his book
Photography against the grain: essays and photo works, 1973-1983 published in 1984.
16
Robert Farris Thompson, Flash of the Spirit: African and Afro-American Art and Philosophy (New York: Vintage Books,
1984), 142.
17
Édouard Glissant, Poetics of Relation, trans. Betsy Wing (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1997), 19, 98.
18
Antonio Zaya curated the first presentation of Interventions with Aracoel’s Objects which took place at El Nuevo Chorro
Bar Restaurant in Loiza, Puerto Rico. The installation and Betancourt’s performance were part of Puerto Rico en Ruta
2002, organized by mm proyectos. Don Uva assisted the artist in Loiza, and he appears in a few of the photographs and
video scenes.
19
Thompson, Flash of the Spirit: African and Afro-American Art and Philosophy, 134.
20
Ibid., 124, 142.
21
Ibid., 16.
22
Robert Farris Thompson, “On the Artwork of Carlos Betancourt,” in Carlos Betancourt: Imperfect Utopia, ed. Petra Mason
(New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 2015), 140. Glissant, Caribbean Discourse: Selected Essays, xliii.
23
Glissant, Caribbean Discourse: Selected Essays, xliii.
24
Mendieta made ten carvings of various Taíno goddesses in 1981, and she photographed them in 1982, with the intention
of publishing a book of photo etchings titled Rupestrian Sculptures Series.
25
Betancourt has produced several works in honor of Ana Mendieta. In 1995, he painted her portrait as part of his “En la
arena sabrosa” series, and in 2001, he made five prints on vinyl for his “Interventions in Nature III Series By Mendieta’s
Ceiba.” In these works he features his own body with text and symbols written on it, and he holds various blossoms and
a nest in his hands. “Mendieta’s ceiba” is at the Cuban Memorial Park in Little Havana. In 1980, she created Ceiba Fetish
by applying hair collected from a neighborhood barber shop to the trunk of a large sacred ceiba tree in the park.
26
Glissant, Poetics of Relation, 151.
27
Elkins, Photography Theory, 9. This is a quote by Siegfried Kracauer in his essay “Photography” in his book The Mass
Ornament published in English in 1995.
28
Ibid., 13.
29
Ibid., 9. This is a quote by Siegfried Kracauer in his essay “Photography” in his book The Mass Ornament published in
English in 1995.
30
Baudrillard, The System of Objects, 85. At the age of six, a family vacation to Walt Disney World in Orlando and visits to
the Fontainebleau and Eden Roc hotels on Miami Beach made an unforgettable impression on Betancourt.
31
Betancourt used to produce furniture which he sold at Imperfect Utopia, his Miami Beach gallery, and some of his designs
featured ball-and-stick details like molecular models.
32
Paul Laster, “Interview with Carlos Betancourt” in Carlos Betancourt: Imperfect Utopia, 70.
33
Baudrillard, The System of Objects, 97.
34
For a discussion of Richard Blanco’s friendship with Carlos Betancourt see Richard Blanco, “Memory As Truth,” in Carlos
Betancourt: Imperfect Utopia, ed. Petra Mason (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 2015), 7-11.
35
Glissant, Caribbean Discourse: Selected Essays, xliii.
20
Obras en exhibición / Works in exhibition
REUNIR / REUNITE
El Portal I
2011
Impresión cromogénica montada en Plexiglás / Chromogenic print surface mounted on Plexiglas
73” x 107” (185.4 x 271.8 cm.)
Cortesía / Courtesy CB Pelican, Inc.
Retrato de un jardín / Portrait of a Garden
2009
Objetos recolectados, pintura acrílica, resina epoxi / Collected objects, acrylic paint, epoxy resin
91 ½” x 23” x 33” (232.4 x 58.4 x 83.8 cm.)
En colaboración con / In collaboration with Alberto Latorre
Colección / Collection Silvia Aguiló &Jorge L. Torres Nazario
Retrato de un jardín / Portrait of a Garden
2009
Objetos recolectados, pintura acrílica, resina epoxi / Collected objects, acrylic paint, epoxy resin
88 ½” x 19 x 19 ½” (224.8 x 48.3 x 49.5 cm.)
En colaboración con / In collaboration with Alberto Latorre
Colección / Collection Jiménez Colón
El Portal II
2011
Impresión cromogénica montada en Plexiglás / Chromogenic print surface mounted on Plexiglas
74” x 117” (188 x 297.2 cm.)
Cortesía / Courtesy CB Pelican, Inc.
El Portal III
2011
Impresión cromogénica montada en Plexiglás / Chromogenic print surface mounted on Plexiglas
75” x 74 ½” (190.5 x 189.2 cm.)
Cortesía / Courtesy CB Pelican, Inc.
Armario de curiosidades / Cabinet of Curiosities
2015
Instalación de sitio específico diseñada para el Museo / Site specific installation for the Museum
Colección de objetos y memorabilia del artista / Artist’s collection of objects and memorabilia
Dimensiones variables / Variable dimensions
Cortesía / Courtesy Carlos Betancourt
RECIBIR / RECEIVE
Apito y Cenizas con cartas para Alberto (de la serie La veneración de mis ancestros)
Apito and Ashes with Letters to Alberto (from the series Worshipping of My Ancestors)
2001
Impresión en chorro de tinta en vinilo / Pigmented inkjet print on vinyl
Edición / Edition: 2/3
84” x 72 ½” (213.4 x 184.2 cm.)
Colección / Collection Rochelle & Steve Lanster
21
¿Cómo se llaman tus hermanos Caracaracol? (de la serie Intervenciones en la naturaleza)
What are the Names of Your Brothers Caracaracol? (from the series Interventions in Nature)
2001
Impresión en chorro de tinta en vinilo / Pigmented inkjet print on vinyl
84” x 57” (213.4 x 144.8 cm.)
Colección / Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami
Donación de / Gift of Debra & Dennis Scholl
Intervenciones con los objetos de aracoel / Interventions with Aracoel’s Objects
2002
Tierra, objetos recolectados, pintura de acrílico, escarcha y 22 fotografías montadas en Plexiglás /
Soil, collected objects, acrylic paint, glitter and 22 color photographs surface mounted on Plexiglas
Instalación: dimensiones variables / Installation: variable dimensions
Fotografías / Photographs: 15” x 15” c/u (38.1 x 38.1 cm.)
Cortesía / Courtesy Carlos Betancourt
Objetos de aracoel (Puerto Rico: En Ruta, Loíza) / Aracoel’s Objects (Puerto Rico: En Ruta, Loíza)
2002
Video
16 min.
Cámara y edición / Camera and editing: Carlos Betancourt
Cortesía / Courtesy Carlos Betancourt
Una Ceiba en el río (de la serie Intervenciones en la Naturaleza II)
Ceiba Tree in the River (from the series Interventions in Nature II)
2001
Impresión cromogénica / Chromogenic print
9 ½” x 11” (24.1 x 27.9 cm.)
Cortesía / Courtesy Carlos Betancourt
Huella de la mano / Hand-Print
2004
Impresión Lambda sobre papel metálico / Metallic Lambda print
33” x 27” (83.8 x 68.6 cm.)
Colección / Collection Carlos García & Carmen Rosa Correa
Back Stories at Hobe Sound, Jupiter Island (Q)
2004
Impresión en gran formato de Polaroid / Large Polaroid print
41” x 34” (104.1 x 86.3 cm.)
Colección / Collection Mr. & Mrs. J.Z. Duke
DESANDAR / RETRACE
Hood on the Hood: Zapatos de tenis / Hood on the Hood: Tennis Shoes
(de la serie Intervenciones en Wynwood) / (from the series Interventions in Wynwood)
2003
Soga, patineta, zapatillas deportivas y pistolas cubiertas de pintura acrílica y escarcha /
Rope, skateboard, tennis shoes and guns covered in acrylic paint and glitter
Dimensiones variables / Variable dimensions
Colección / Collection Carmen G. Correa
Hood on the Hood
2003
Impresión cromogénica montada sobre Plexiglás / Chromogenic print mounted on Plexiglas
30” x 37 1/4” (76.2 x 94.6 cm.)
Cortesía / Courtesy CB Pelican, Inc.
22
Alberto y cucubano
(de la serie Intervenciones en Hobe Sound I)
(from the series Interventions in Hobe Sound I)
2004
Impresión en chorro de tinta en vinilo / Pigmented inkjet print on vinyl
72” x 48” (182.9 x 121.9 cm.)
Colección / Collection Gutiérrez Bermúdez
Retrato de un sueño VII (de la serie Rincón, Flamboyant)
Portrait of a Dream VII (from the series Rincón, Flamboyant)
2005
Impresión cromogénica / Chromogenic print
16 3/4” x 15 1/8” (42.5 x 38.4 cm.)
Cortesía / Courtesy Carlos Betancourt
Retrato familiar: Mami, Papi y Alberto (de la serie Rincón, Flamboyant)
Family Portrait: Mami, Papi and Alberto (from the series Rincón, Flamboyant)
2005
Impresión Lambda sobre papel metálico / Metallic Lambda print
21” x 21” (53.3 x 53.3 cm.)
Colección / Collection Diego Figueroa & Patricia Villamil
Alberto con la tuna de la trastornada sexual entregada a Cristo
2005
Impresión Lambda sobre papel metálico / Metallic Lambda print
58” x 49” (147.3 x 124.4 cm.)
Colección / Collection René Vélez Marichal
Retrato de la familia con la prima, bailarina de flamenco, Nietzsche y Paya Paya
(de la serie Rincón, Flamboyant)
Family Portrait with my Cousin, the Flamenco Dancer, Nietzsche and Paya Paya
(from the series Rincón, Flamboyant)
2005
Impresión Lambda sobre papel metálico / Metallic Lambda print
52” x 49” (132.1 x 124.4 cm.)
Cortesía / Courtesy CB Pelican, Inc.
Domingo en la tarde en El Yunque / Sunday Afternoon in El Yunque
2008
Impresión Lambda sobre papel metálico / Metallic Lambda prin
49” x 32” (124.4 x 81.3 cm.)
Cortesía / Courtesy Carlos Betancourt
Vejigante en el Río Blanco (de la serie Vieques y Rincón)
Vejigante in Río Blanco (from the series Vieques and Rincón)
2004
Impresión Lambda sobre papel metálico / Metallic Lambda print
53” x 41” (134.6 x 104.1 cm.)
Cortesía / Courtesy Carlos Betancourt
El jardín encantado II / The Enchanted Garden II
2010
Impresión Lambda sobre papel metálico / Metallic Lambda print
25” x 35” (63.5 x 88.9 cm.)
Cortesía / Courtesy CB Pelican, Inc.
23
Castro en su triunfante avance a La Habana (de la serie Intervenciones en la naturaleza IV)
Castro in Triumphant Advance to Havana (from the series Interventions in Nature IV)
2001
Impresión en chorro de tinta en vinilo / Pigmented inkjet print on vinyl
132” x 156” (335.3 x 396.2 cm.)
Cortesía / Courtesy Carlos Betancourt
Top of the Three Pointer (de la serie Vieques y Rincón)
Top of the Three Pointer (from the series Vieques and Rincón)
2004
Impresión Lambda sobre papel metálico / Metallic Lambda print
20” x 24” (50.1 x 61 cm.)
Colección / Collection Jiménez Colón
Vieques (de la serie Fondos negros) / Vieques (from the series Black Backgrounds)
2007
Impresión Lambda sobre papel metálico / Metallic Lambda print
27 ½” x 28” (69.9 x 71.1 cm.)
Cortesía / Courtesy Carlos Betancourt
Petroglyphs and Surfer Shorts in Río Blanco
(de la serie Vieques y Rincón) / (from the series Vieques and Rincón)
2003
Impresión Lambda montada sobre Plexiglás / Lambda print mounted on Plexiglas
20” x 24” (50.8 x 61 cm.)
Colección / Collection Familia Cubiñá Karman
GUABANEX – Río Blanco
(de la serie Vieques y Rincón) / (from the series Vieques and Rincón)
2003
Impresión cromogénica montada sobre Plexiglás / Chromogenic print mounted on Plexiglas
20 1/8” x 31 ½” (51.1 x 80 cm.)
Cortesía / Courtesy Carlos Betancourt
Para claridad / For Clarity
2015
Campana Yoruba y objetos personales del artista / Yoruba bell and personal objects of the artist
Dimensiones variables / Variable dimensions
Colección / Collection Carlos Betancourt
RECREAR / RECREATE
Bizcochos atómicos (de la serie De bizcochos y libros de recuerdos XI)
Atomic Cakes (from the series Of Cakes and Scrapbooks XI)
2011
Objetos encontrados, yeso fundido, pintura acrílica y resina epoxi (2 piezas) /
Collected objects, cast plaster, acrylic paint and epoxy resin (2 pieces)
24” x 22” x 22” c/u (61 x 56.9 x 56.9 cm.)
En colaboración con / In collaboration with Alberto Latorre
Cortesía / Courtesy Carlos Betancourt
Carrito de compra atómico / Shopping Cart Atomic
2011
Objetos recolectados, pintura acrílica y resina epoxi / Collected objects, acrylic paint and epoxy resin
55 ½” x 43” x 28” (140.9 x 109.2 x 71.1 cm.)
Cortesía / Courtesy CB Pelican, Inc.
24
Ensamblaje en pared de cosas pasadas (para Alberto Latorre)
Wall Assemblages of Things Past (for Alberto Latorre)
2012
Wood panel, objetos recolectados, pintura acrílica y resina epoxi /
Wooden panel, collected objects, acrylic paint and epoxy resin
60” x 84” x 14” (152.4 x 213.4 x 35.6 cm.)
Cortesía / Courtesy Carlos Betancourt
Sin título / Untitled
Después de septiembre (rostro rojo) / After September (red face)
2002
Impresión en chorro de tinta en vinilo / Pigmented inkjet print on vinyl
156” x 156” (396.2 x 396.2 cm.)
Cortesía / Courtesy Carlos Betancourt
REFLEJAR / REFLECT
Re-Colecciones VIII / Re-Collections VIII
2009
Impresión cromogénica montada en Plexiglás / Chromogenic print surface mounted on Plexiglas
72” x 72” (182.9 x 182.9 cm.)
Colección / Collection Museo de Arte de Ponce
Fundación Luis A. Ferré, Inc. Ponce, Puerto Rico
Re-Colecciones XVII (Mykonos) / Re-Collections XVII (Mykonos)
2011
Impresión en papel fino montado sobre Plexiglás / Print on fine paper mounted on Plexiglas
72 3/4” x 72 3/4” (184.8 x 184.8 cm.)
Colección / Collection Galería J.Johnson
Re-Colecciones X (rojos) / Re-Collections X (reds)
2010
Impresión cromogénica montada en Plexiglás / Chromogenic print surface mounted on Plexiglas
72” x 72” (182.9 x 182.9 cm.)
Cortesía / Courtesy Carlos Betancourt
Re-Colecciones VIII (gris) / Re-Collections VIII (grey)
2009
Impresión cromogénica / Chromogenic print
48” x 48” (121.9 x 121.9 cm.)
Colección / Collection Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico
Donación de la familia Otero Casiano & Rolando Jiménez / Gift of Otero-Casiano family & Rolando Jiménez, 2011
MAC-CP 929 (2011.02.030)
REGRESAR / RETURN
Sin título (objetos quebrados) / Untitled (broken objects)
2014-2015
Impresión en chorro de tinta en papel / Pigmented inkjet print on paper
65” x 54 5/8” (165.1 x 138.7 cm.)
Colección / Collection J.Johnson Gallery
25
Sin título (objetos quebrados) / Untitled (broken objects)
2014-2015
Impresión en chorro de tinta en papel / Pigmented inkjet print on paper
65” x 54 5/8” (165.1 x 138.7 cm.)
Colección / Collection Mr. & Mrs. J.Z. Duke
En la arena sabrosa
2015
Instalación de sitio específico / Site specific installation
Pintura acrílica sobre paneles de madera, arena de río y playa, escarcha y pegamento
Acrylic paint on wood panels, river and beach sand, glitter and glue
Dimensiones variables / Variable dimensions
En la arena sabrosa
2005
Video
4.39 min.
ENTRADA A LA GALERÍA, 2NDO PISO / 2ND FLOOR GALLERY ENTRANCE
Autorretrato con carta a Bartolomé de las Casas / Self Portrait with Letter to Bartolomé de las Casas
2001
Impresión en chorro de tinta en vinilo / Pigmented inkjet print on vinyl
156” x 132” (396.2 x 335.3 cm.)
Colección / Collection Bass Museum of Art
Donación de / Gift of Robert Miller
PATIO INTERIOR / COURTYARD
Sin título / Untitled
Después de septiembre (con amarillo) / After September (with yellow)
2002
120” x 80” (304.8 x 203.2 cm.)
Impresión en chorro de tinta en vinilo / Pigmented inkjet print on vinyl
Cortesía / Courtesy Carlos Betancourt
El poder de Itiba Cahuababa (de la serie Intervenciones en la naturaleza)
The Power of Itiba Cahuababa (from the series Interventions in Nature)
2001
84” x 100” (213.4 x 254 cm.)
Impresión en chorro de tinta en vinilo / Pigmented inkjet print on vinyl
Cortesía / Courtesy Carlos Betancourt
Ciudad mágica / Magic City
(de la serie Intervenciones en la naturaleza VI, Richard Blanco)
(from the series Interventions in Nature VI, Richard Blanco)
2001
132” x 156” (335.3 x 396.2 cm.)
Impresión en chorro de tinta en vinilo / Pigmented inkjet print on vinyl
Cortesía / Courtesy Carlos Betancourt
Retrato de un sueño, Richard Blanco / Portrait of a Dream, Richard Blanco
2002
48” x 70” (121.9 x 177.8 cm.)
Impresión en chorro de tinta en vinilo / Pigmented inkjet print on vinyl
Cortesía / Courtesy Carlos Betancourt
26
La veneración de nuestros ancestros / Worshipping of Our Ancestors
2001
58” x 150” (147.3 x 381 cm.)
Impresión en chorro de tinta en vinilo / Pigmented inkjet print on vinyl
Cortesía / Courtesy Carlos Betancourt
Intervenciones con los objetos de aracoel, Santo Domingo II
Interventions with Aracoel Objects, Santo Domingo II
2002
89” x 70” (226.1.2 x 177.8 cm.)
Impresión en chorro de tinta en vinilo / Pigmented inkjet print on vinyl
Cortesía / Courtesy Carlos Betancourt
27
CRÉDITOS / CREDITS
MUSEO DE ARTE CONTEMPORÁNEO DE PUERTO RICO
EXHIBICIÓN / EXHIBITION
Cheryl Hartup
Curaduría / Curatorship
Carlos Betancourt, Alberto Latorre, Cheryl Hartup, Marianne Ramírez Aponte
Diseño de la exhibición / Exhibition Design
Evita Busa
Coordinación general / General Coordination
Lourdes Ranero
Registraduría / Registry
Sergio Hernández
Uziel Esteban Orlandi Alegría
Instalación de la exhibición / Exhibition Installation
Marianne Ramírez Aponte
Paloma S. Rodríguez Ramírez
Imagen gráfica de la exhibición / Exhibition Image Design
Alberto Latorre
Lilia M. Aponte Colón, Henry Ballester, Salomé Cortés Robles, Dora Díaz, Gabriel Maldonado, José Miranda Carrasquillo,
Nicholas John Morales Moret, Paloma Rodríguez Ramírez
Asistentes de montaje / Installation assistants
Evita Busa
Cheryl Hartup
Rosaura Rodríguez
Rafael Vargas Bernard
Programa educativo / Education Program
Georgie Vega Porrata
Roberto Beltrán
Coordinación de comunicaciones / Communications Coordination
Georgie Vega Porrata
Julissa Vega
Recaudación de Fondos y Relaciones Públicas / Fundraising and Public Relations
Bass Museum of Art
J.Johnson Gallery
Museo de Arte de Ponce, Fundación Luis A. Ferré, Inc., Ponce, Puerto Rico
Pérez Art Museum Miami
Silvia Aguiló & Jorge L. Torres Nazario
Familia Jiménez Colón
Rochelle & Steve Lanster
Carlos García & Carmen Rosa Correa
Mr. & Mrs. J.Z. Duke
Carmen G. Correa
Familia Gutiérrez Bermúdez
Diego Figueroa & Patricia Villamil
René Vélez Marichal
Familia Cubiñá Karman
Prestadores de la Exhibición / Lenders to the Exhibition
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PUBLICACIÓN / PUBLICATION
Marianne Ramírez Aponte
Sergio Hernández
Diseño gráfico / Graphic design
Antonio J. Ramírez Aponte
Fotografía de la Exhibición / Exhibition Photography
AUSPICIADORES DEL PROYECTO / PROJECT SPONSORS
Compañía de Turismo de Puerto Rico
Fomento Económico de Puerto Rico
Banco Popular de Puerto Rico
Magic Transport
Lino Hernández y Supermercados Econo
Coca-Cola Puerto Rico Bottlers
Trafon Group
The Condado Plaza Hilton Hotel ǀ Caribe Hilton
Fondo Fomento Industria Lechera
PMM Contrastistas
Lamar Advertising
WIPR
Bodegar
Arquetipo, Inc.
Ing. José Chilo Andreu y Sra. Millie Andreu
Extendemos un agradecimiento especial al arquitecto Alberto Latorre, director del estudio y compañero del artista, Walter
Otero y WOCA Gallery por toda su colaboración para hacer este proyecto concreto.
Special thanks to architect Alberto Latorre, studio director and partner of the artist, Walter Otero and WOCA Gallery for all
their collaboration in making this Project possible.
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