The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today

Exhibition Website

Jun 1 2024 - Sep 15 2024

Grand Rapids Art Museum

Grand Rapids, MI

Every three years, artists living and working in the United States are invited to submit one of their recent portraits to a panel of experts chosen by the museum. The 42 finalists in this year’s edition were selected from more than 2,700 entries. The first-prize winner, to be announced in the spring, will receive a cash award of $25,000 and a commission to create a portrait of a living person for the museum’s permanent collection.

The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition encourages artists living and working across the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands to submit work that challenges traditional definitions of portraiture.

This year’s competition received entries in a variety of media, including painting, photography, assemblage, sculpture, performance and time-based media. The winning artworks not only reflect the evolving democratization of portraiture but also underscore the genre’s ability to tell once-hidden stories. 

Finalists represent 14 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Seven artists have been shortlisted for prizes. The winners and allotted prize amounts will be announced at the press preview April 29, 2022. Previous first-prize winners have been David Lenz (2006), Dave Woody (2009), Bo Gehring (2013), Amy Sherald (2016) and Hugo Crosthwaite (2019).

“The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition was founded to support the next wave of contemporary portraiture in the United States,” said Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery. “The diversity of this edition’s entries, from geographic origin to subject matter and media, reflects both the multifaceted story of the United States today and the unique perspectives and lenses through which contemporary artists see that story. Produced in the past three years, it is no surprise that the art provides a powerful affirmation of the human experience focused on the pain of the COVID-19 pandemic, demands for social justice, personal isolation, familial ties, community support, love and loss.”

Guest jurors for this competition are Kathleen Ash-Milby, curator of Native American art, Portland Art Museum, Oregon; Catherine Opie, artist, professor of photography and chair of the art department at the University of California, Los Angeles; Ebony G. Patterson, artist, Chicago and Kingston, Jamaica; and John Yau, poet, critic and professor of critical studies, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, New Jersey. Members of the jury from the National Portrait Gallery include Taína Caragol, curator of painting and sculpture and Latinx art and history; Leslie Ureña, curator of photographs; and Dorothy Moss, curator of painting and sculpture and coordinating curator for the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative.

Credit: Overview from museum website

Image: Tom Jones, Elizah Leonard, Inkjet print with beads, rhinestones, and shells, 2019. IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico; museum purchase, 2020

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