Juan Betancurth, ‘NO.114 SHOE POLISHER’, 2013, Residency Unlimited

Juan Betancurth creates a visually striking personal mythology that is dark, tender and satirical. “NO.114 Shoe Polisher” is an uncanny object the has assembled that invites viewers to access their inner compulsions and feelings by experimenting its functionalities.

In his recent solo show at Baxter St “All of this is made for you”, curator Regine Basha writes about his work: “With the use and reuse of certain found objects and devices (hooks, tools, animal skins, and bulbs for instance) placed either as characters in installation or as triggers for performances, Betancurth assembles what he calls a psychic economy of forms. Precise and decidedly beautiful, the objects double as fetish objects and functional tools that clearly draw from within the artists’ own repository of memory and fantasy. A hovering question becomes: exactly how do these objects cause pleasure or pain?..."

Juan Betancurth (b. 1972) is a Colombian born artist living and working in New York City. In 2015 his installation "Virtues of Disequilibrium" has ben shown at the Queens Museum. His work has been included at the following venues: Pomada Festival, Rio de Janeiro (2014); Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw (2014). Other venuew include The New Museum, New York, (2012), Boston University College of Fine Arts, (2012), Abrons Art Center, Performa 11, CCS BARD College, Red Hook, New York; El Museo del Barrio Biennial, New York; Queens Museum of Art, New York, (2006). In 2013 he took up a residency in Louisville, Kentucky, as an Outbound RU artist and was selected as one of the first artists to occupy a studio in the Queens Museum residency program (2013-2015).

About Juan Betancurth

Juan Betancurth’s practice is about blurring boundaries, between subjects and mediums alike; his work explores dreams, memory, and the present day through sculpture, installation, performance, and combinations thereof. He is especially interested in themes of family tradition, power, and submission, in particular as they relate to his personal experiences. To explore these ideas, Betancurth crafts meticulous, immersive installations, filled with sculptures and props that set the stage for his intimate performances of witchcraft, daily routines, poetry, and religious rituals. Site-specificity is an important concern in many of his works, as in Dirty Looks: On Location, a video streamed in a booth at a gay sex shop in Manhattan, or Sketchy Walk at the New Museum, for which the artist reconstructed the gay cruising milieu that once characterized the Museum’s Bowery location. As personal and ambiguous as many of his works are, Betancurth hopes that they encourage creativity in each viewer, creating a fleeting moment and space for community.

Colombian, b. 1972, Manizales, Colombia, based in Brooklyn, New York