The Collaborative Art Programme Set to Launch across EAST Hotels Explores Connections with Our Communities and Beyond, Beginning with a Special Installation by Carlos Betancourt at EAST, Miami, curated by Ximena Caminos

December 2019 – EAST Hotels, a group of design hotels for travellers that lead active lifestyles, announced the debut of its brand new art programme, Art at EAST: Urban Remix, at EAST, Miami in Brickell this December. The installation, ‘On the Edge: The Hopeful Forest’, by renowned artist Carlos Betancourt comes just in time for this year’s Art Basel Miami and pushes EAST to the forefront of the growing art scene in the city’s downtown neighbourhood where more and more satellite art fairs pop up each year. The Miami showcase will be the first in a series set to launch under EAST’s brand-wide art programme, with unique exhibitions at EAST, Hong Kong and EAST, Beijing to follow in 2020. In collaboration with locally based artists, Art at EAST: Urban Remix celebrates each hotel’s dedication to help go-getting urbanites make the most of their stay through specially designed installations that reimagine urban living.

Working with Ximena Caminos, famed Argentine curator and recently appointed Artistic Visionary Planner for The Underline, EAST, Miami has joined forces with Carlos Betancourt to create an exclusive installation that takes inspiration from the local city and explores what it means to live in the urban environment. From December 2, 2019 through January 14th, 2020, ‘On the Edge: The Hopeful Forest’ will be on display in the lobby, featuring a series of totems made from repurposed, abandoned objects found in the surrounding community. The collected objects used in these sculptural artworks are stacked and accumulated as if to mimic the towering high-rises of the adjacent Brickell neighborhood while alluding to personal memories and Miami’s overall identity.  The name ‘On the Edge’ also correlates to the city’s geographic location, on the eastern edge and referencing the broader idea of being on the edge – a place of equilibrium yet also a moment of anticipation for the unknown. The sourcing of materials from the neighbouring communities to create the artwork further conveys an immediate connection with them while emphasizing EAST’s dedication to sustainability.

Artist Carlos Betancourt (San Juan, Puerto Rico, b. 1966) is a multidisciplinary artist whose artwork explores issues of memory and his own experiences, all while dwelling on matters of beauty, identity and communication. Betancourt repurposes found objects in his artworks and reinterprets the past by delivering it in a fresh and relevant context.

We are so thrilled to be collaborating with Ximena Caminos and Carlos Betancourt on the first installation for EAST’s art programme,” said Clarissa Tam, Art Programmes Lead for Swire Hotels. “On the Edge: The Hopeful Forest’ is in response to the community-conscious theme of Art at EAST: Urban Remix, and has combined objects that give insight into Miami’s story and culture. It adds to this growing narrative that art and design is no longer reserved for Wynwood or South Beach – Brickell is exciting, it’s inviting and now a major player in the city’s growing artistic appeal.”

Artist Carlos Betancourt added, “The installation is assembled in part with objects brought to the studio by many of our friends. These ‘impossibly balanced’ totem-like sculptures transmit a sense of harmony and equilibrium while simultaneously alluding to Miami’s transcultural identity.  As they reach towards the heights of the elegant cathedral-like lobby, these visually accessible and thought provoking sculptures liberate the recycled objects of their original intentions and present them in a new context that is loaded with magic and hope.”

Curator Ximena Caminos elaborated, “These sculptures continue to explore the artist’s fascination with found objects and the memories embedded in them, while also alluding to our personal attempts to balance and control our surroundings and experiences.”

To celebrate the launch of the new installation at EAST, Miami, the hotel is inviting guests to interact with the display via a coloring book created by Carlos Betancourt. Featuring special drawings of the totem sculptures, these custom colouring books will allow guests to use their own creativity to interpret the artwork.

Following the debut of Art at EAST: Urban Remix at EAST, Miami, the art programme will continue with exhibitions at EAST’s properties in Hong Kong and Beijing. Similar to the connection found with the city of Miami, the installations in development at EAST, Hong Kong and EAST, Beijing are commissioning locally based artists to interpret the concept of urban living. EAST, Hong Kong’s installation will launch timed to the property’s 10th anniversary in end February 2020, followed by the unveiling of EAST, Beijing’s exhibition in May 2020. The three installations of Art at EAST: Urban Remix will engage with the local community, bringing in local artists and designers to encourage hotel guests to experience the vibrant communities that surround the individual properties in surprising, thought-provoking ways.